TFB Exclusive: Precision Rifles of the SDF Forces in Raqqa

    The bloody battle for the Syrian city of Raqqa has been since been won by the Kurdish Peshmerga with U.S. support. But while it was raging, we wrote about the Polish volunteer fighting with the Peshmerga with a public name and Facebook book title of Archer. After getting in touch with the individual, he was able to submit to TFB a number of photographs of his small teams inventory along with some actual feedback on the small arms used.

    Possibly of the most interest are the anti-material rifles in use by both sides in the current conflict in Syria. The resurgence of the anti-material rifle is specifically tied to the SBVIED threat being faced by Iraqi and Kurdish forces from the so-called Islamic State, in addition to the benefits of shooting through thin walls in an urban setting such as in Raqqa or Mosul. He mentions the design of a craft produced rifle that we haven’t reported on at TFB yet, the Siyar, chambered in 14.5×114mm. This is what Archer himself had to say about the rifles-

    14.5 is the Şiyar rifle which we call “The Fury”

    They installed iron sights on it because every scope exploded at some point

    Mostly to stop vbieds but also to destroy enemy morale and sometimes injure/neutralize them by shooting through walls of buildings they are most likely in

    Goes through elevation and sometimes even another wall and then explodes

    Doesnt need to be that accurate

    Archer’s comments describe these rifles. Also note the Steyer SSG in the middle top portion of the photo.

    Left shorter siar, center black arrow, right long siar”

    This photograph catches a very rare craft modification of the SVD, the addition of bipods. Of course, the original SVD designs never incorporated bipods with the Soviets seeing the SVD as a tactical designated marksman slot instead of a precision rifle that many NATO sniper schools of thought follow.

    Although we saw examples of SVDs in the previous photographs, there were an abundance of actual DM rifles, mostly U.S. or black market supplied M16A4s, A2s, and M4s. He had this to say about their use-

    I see someone asked why not AR platform. We do use M4s and M16…even one M16A1! We use them for special ops, but mostly night ops as they are the only ones we can mount thermal vision on [due to the Picattiny rail]

    There was also a bayonet mounted Nagant carbine soldiering on-

    This one a rifle variant with Picatinny rail mounted- 

    From left to right: Soviet 14.5x114mm, Soviet 12.7x108mm, Browning 12.7x99mm (.50 BMG), 7.62x51mm NATO, Russian 7.62x54mmR, Soviet 7.62x39mm M43, 5.56x45mm NATO. Of more interest to me is the Sako rifle case all these cartridges are laying on top of. Did it arrive in Syria brand new? If so, does this indicate a supply of SAKO products to the Peshmerga, or did it show up on the black market within the MENA region?

    We haven’t seen many examples of a Colt or FN Herstal M4A1 equipped with PMAGs, complete with a SKU number, Eotech (could be a copy), and magnifier in use with Kurdish forces.


    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]