ISIS Weapons and Ammunitions

M. Ahsan Jamal

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) is not only the world’s best-funded but also among the best armed terrorist organization. The group controls territory in Iraq and Syria and also operates in areas of the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia with the aim to establish itself as a Caliphate.

ISIS has been designated as a terrorist organization by many Western and Muslim countries and more than 60 countries are directly or indirectly waging war against ISIS.

Although airstrike campaign continues to destroy the ISIS vehicles and weapons, but the UN report states, it “cannot mitigate the effect of the significant volume of light weapons” ISIS possesses. Those weapons “are sufficient to allow [ISIS] to continue fighting at current levels for six months to two years.”

According to IRIA sources, currently ISIS soldiers are using heavy arms and ammunitions made by United States, Russian Federation, Serbia and China but small arms and sniper rifles in their possession are from United States, China, Russia Czech Republic, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, North Korea, Romania, Sudan, Turkey, Slovakia, Poland and Kyrgyzstan.

ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria also possess variety of anti-aircraft weaponry, shoulder-fired SAMs and heavy machine guns. According to experts, besides large number of M-46 130mm field guns, ISIS militants also managed to captured, advanced missiles and rockets, which can be used for launching an attack from mortars, trucks and other vehicles.

Intelligence reports confirm that as many as 4500 Kalashnikov rifles and PKC-47 machine guns and five to seven dozens of US-made M-16 rifle are possessed by IS militants.

Most of the sophisticated weapons have been transferred to the Islamic State’s headquarters in Wilayah Al-Barakah in the Al Hasakah province in northeastern Syria.

ISIS captured more than 32 Soviet T-55 tanks and 10 Soviet T-72 battle tanks from Syrian and Iraqi forces. Later they acquired medium-sized towed artillery pieces, with a range of upwards of 14 miles; SA-7 surface-to-air missiles; BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers and Fim-92 Stinger Manpad shoulder-fired infrared homing surface-to-air missiles.

ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns and M79 Osa, HJ-8 and AT-4 Spigot anti-tank weapons had been delivered by ‘middle men’ operating from Beirut and Jordan.

According to intelligence reports ISIS have more than seven dozens of US-made Badger armored vehicles, at least two dozens of Humvees, 27 other kinds of armored vehicles and a 155mm howitzer.

The presence of M79 anti-tank rockets in IS hands were also confirmed by the field experts in the month of August and September.

Polish ammunitions include 9×19 Luger and the old 9mm Makarov, while the 5.56×45 and 7.62×51 NATO rifle rounds were were being used by Kalashnikov rifles.

Few handgun (Wist 94) and submachine gun (PM-84P) as well as UKM 2000 machine guns were also witnessed by observers.

In some cases Russian SVD rifles and PKM LMGs with the use of 7.62x54R Russian rounds were also reported.

At least a dozen M14 rifles (U.S. Army old rifle) in 7.62×51 caliber and few M240 7.62mm machine guns were also used in the attack against Syrian Army in Aleppo.

Few caches of Indian-made 7.62 mm Trichy Assault Rifle were also recovered recently but reliable sources told Turkish intelligence that these weapons were looted from Iraqi arms depot.

This Indian rifle 800 rounds per minute as compared to 700 rounds per minute by AK-47. Lebanonese sources say that there is a possibility that Israelis which received deliveries of this Indian rifle few years ago might have been acquired by IS fighters.

In one case more than two boxes (each containing fifty pieces) of Romanian AIM / PM63 Rifle, 7.62 x 39mm and around twenty vz.58 assault rifle chambered in 7.62x39 mm were also recovered from one IS stronghold near Akkas.

From Anbar close of Syrian border few dozen caches of latest Czech Republic's new CZ 805 BREN chambered in 5.56x45 mm were also found in October 2014 from an armored car left behind by IS forces after a clash with Iraqi forces.

According to some reports few pieces of Skorpion EVO submachine guns and CZ 75 semi-automatic pistols, both of which are chambered in 9x19 mm were also seen in the hands of IS leaders.

According to our experts ISIS has also managed to seize American arms, including anti-tank weapons and assault rifles (M-16 and XM-15 rifles). These weapons are manufactured by Bushmaster Firearms International and FN Manufacturing. In addition ISIS has seized foreign ammunitions from the U.S., China and Iran, as well as captured thousands of American combat vehicles and artillery batteries.

ISIS Militants with 'Scud' Missile

ISIS possesses SA-6 (Gainful) 2K12 Kub SAM, SA-7 surface-to-air missiles and SS-1 (Scud) 9P117 SSM, which gives the terrorist organization something of a limited ballistic missile capability.

It is also believed that Saudi Arab transferred U.S.-made weapons - including, M79 90 mm anti-tank rockets - to ISIS. At the same time, Islamic militias operating in this region captured large quantity of weapons from Western-backed Free Syrian Army and other forces.

According to our experts some former Iraqi pilots have also joined ISIS and now using Syrian MiG-21 and MiG-23 to train ISIS pilots.

It is confirmed that ISIS militants possess large number of Soviet-designed weapons, including PKM General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), RPK Light Machine Gun (LMG), Kalashnikov AK-47 Assault Rifle, Dragunov SVD semi-automatic sniper rifle, RPG-7 AT Rocket Launcher. ISIS militants also managed to capture Iraqi Tabuk Designated Marksman Rifle, Croatian RBG-6 40mm Multiple Grenade Launcher, Yugoslavian M79 Osa (Wasp) AT Rocket Launcher, and Chinese NORINCO HJ-8 (Hongjian-8) AT (anti-tank guided missile systems).

These sophisticated and advanced weapons have already made ISIS a serious threat not only to the region, but also to the West and its allies. The structure and operations of the organization clearly indicates that they are not just using guerrilla warfare, but also have the potential to successfully defend their lands and strongholds, while the collection of weapons and armored vehicles offer ISIS a tactical flexibility to launch devastating attacks against its enemies.

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