Why Chechen Militants In Syria Are Showing Off Weapons Meant For Moderate Rebels

On August 11, a Chechen-led militant group in Syria posted a photograph of one of its fighters with a Chinese-made large-caliber sniper rifle.

The Zijiang M99 rifle held by the militant — from the Aleppo-based Chechen-led Caucasus Emirate (CE) In Syria group — originally appeared in Syria in 2013, and was supplied to the moderate, Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other rebel groups for use against Syrian government forces.

It is not clear who supplied the weapons, though it is most likely they were acquired from Sudan via Qatar. The weapons have been widely seen in Syria including in videos bearing the logo of the Qatari-backed Liwa al-Tawhid group.