Saturday, 3 October 2015

British Accuracy International AWM sniper rifles in Syria, From Russia with Love?

By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

While an earlier article already revealed the presence of British-made Accuracy International Arctic Warfare Magnum (AWM) sniper rifles with elements of Syria's secretive special forces in Harasta, Damascus, new information indicates these British sniper rifles were most likely delivered to Syria from Russia.

The example used by the Syrian Special Forces is different from the standard AWM seen in use with militaries and law-enforcement agencies throughout the world. Instead of the Chassis System (AICS) stock, it comes with a pistol-grip skin which was launched by Accuracy International in 2012. The skin incorporates the ergonomics of the newer AX series sniper rifles by incoprorating a conventional pistol grip, losing weight in the process.

While acquiring several AWM sniper rifles, albeit via the black market, would already prove a challenge for the Syrian military, acquiring these with the rare and very new pistol-grip skin would undoubtedly be beyond the capacities of the Army Supply Bureau of the High Command of the Syrian Arab Republic, which has so far limited its orders to Russian and Iranian sniper and anti-materiel rifles.

Unsurprisingly, Russia has so far been the only confirmed foreign customer of the pistol-grip skin for the AWM, acquiring a limited amount for its special forces units. The AWM below is an example of a rifle equipped with this skin in Russia, lacking the suppressor seen mounted in Syria but with the same additional rails near the muzzle not usually seen on this weapon.

Aside from the attached suppressor, the example seen in Syria differs from the weapon above by its new desert paintjob, well suited to the terrain found around Damascus. The suppressor itself is another indication of the adjustments made to increase its effectiveness on the Syrian battlefields: remaining undetected for as long as possible is imperative in the sniper-heavy environment.

The fact that a one rare, recently introduced pistol-grip skin equipped AWM only confirmed to be operated by Russia turns up in Syria at the height of Russian involvement in the Syrian War is unlikely to be coincidence. As with the sighting of Italian Iveco LMVs operated by Russians, Western nations once interested in delivering weapons to Russia as part of their warming relationship might now look back with regret.

Special thanks to Abraxas Spa.

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  1. I'm surprised Britain let Russia buy from AI.

    1. At one point there it seemed like there was a lot of potential for cooperation on weapons development/weapon sales with russia,all stone cold dead now of course with the biggest losers especially being the french and the italians

  2. it is not AWM on those pitures,it is AT