Militants affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, may be trading their Russian-made AK-47 rifles for American-made M-16 rifles.
That’s according to video analyzed by Flashpoint Intelligence, a closely held company that focuses on monitoring illicit activity through use of the “Deep & Dark Web.” The video, posted below, appears to show a dozen or so militants training with and shooting M-16s, as first reported NBC News.
“It is noteworthy that the use of American rifles by Islamic State fighters is rare and is only seen in Iraq,” Flashpoint said in a research note obtained by Military.com. “These rifles were likely left by U.S. forces or seized from Iraqi soldiers. Most jihadi fighters utilize Russian AK-47 rifles.”
Laith Alkhouri, director of Middle East and North Africa research and analysis for Flashpoint who authored the note, said the video was released by the Islamic State on Aug. 31 video and features footage from a training camp in the “Jazeera Province” — the group’s operational area in northern Iraq.
He said other videos and intelligence that surfaced over the past year depict ISIS militants in control of other American-made military equipment, including M198 howitzers artillery pieces, Humvee utility trucks, even M1 Abrams tanks — presumably seized as they overtook Iraqi military bases.
The U.S. Army has released photos showing Iraqi soldiers with M-16s as they undergo marksmanship training supervised by American troops.
Here are some other images pulled from the video, according to Flashpoint:
Here’s a link to the video that purports to show the militants wielding M-16s, according to the intelligence group: