Russian media has reported on the recent acquisition of .50 BMG HS .50 patterned Anti-Materiel rifles by the Syrian Arab Army in the fight against the ongoing insurgent groups within Syria. The article claims that the rifles are assembled from Iranian components shipped to Assad’s army and are most likely to be used in upcoming offensives. From the three photographs we have available, there appears to be at least 120 within a single frame, taken from inside an armory with the HS .50, or more correctly the Iranian version with the nomenclature of AM50 or Sayyad-2. One item not present with the rifles is a powered optic, which will most likely be added at a later date. What would make this story interesting is if Iran is also supplying RU60G thermal optics to the rifles, enabling Syrian marksmen to make shots out to several hundred meters at night. Although the Iranian version and the original HS .50 are chambered in .50 BMG,12.7x99mm, one of the cases is clearly marked with the Russian 12.7x108mm cartridge, showing a different chambering of the design.
One important note here is that this isn’t the first time that the Syrians have received supplies of the AM50 from Iran, but this might be the first time that the rifles are being assembled in-country if the original article proves correct. Insurgencies and rebel groups within Syria, to even include Iraqi forces have been using versions of the rifle throughout the conflict, but up until now, the SAA forces haven’t been seen publicly with the rifle in heavy use.
If you look closer, one of the soft drag bag cases has this inscription on the side that reads “GOLAN S-? 12.7×108…” Golan is most likely named after the Golan Heights that Israel has occupied since the Six Day War and is of high strategic value. If these rifles are truly in 12.7x108mm, it would fit with what the Syrians have on hand in terms of Russian supplies of ammunition.
This image shows at least 120 rifles stacked in an armory.
Specifications for HS .50 (From ModernFirearms.Net)
|Full text name||Крупнокалиберная снайперская винтовка Steyr .50 HS(Австрия)|
|Caliber cartridge||.50 BMG (12.7×99 Browning Machine Gun)|
|Overall length, mm||1370|
|Barrel length, mm||833|
|Weight empty, kg||12.4|
|Magazine capacity, rounds||1|