Syrian Forces Claim to Have Discovered a Stash of Israeli Weapons in the Hands of Rebels in Homs

Fact Test - Mixed

The claim(s):

On June 29, 2017, a number of images were released by the Syrian Government purporting to depict a stash of weapons captured from rebel forces in Homs, Syria. Amongst these weapons was a clearly visible ammunition box showing text in Hebrew, sparking claims that the stash was composed entirely out of Israeli weapons.

The truth:

The only visible evidence of Israeli arms present in the photos is the single box of 7.62mm ammunition amongst the other weapons. In addition to this, there are several box magazines visible toward the bottom right corner of one of the images, but there is no evidence of what firearm(s) these magazines belong to.

The current standard issue rifle of the Israeli Army is the IWI Tavor, which is chambered for a 5.56x45mm cartridge, and this replaced the M16 and M14 service rifles in 2009, both of which are also chambered to 5.56mm rounds.

The only other main battle rifle produced by Israeli Military Industries is the Galil and IWI Ace, both of which do have 7.62mm variants, and so these would be the rifles that match the ammo box; in addition to this, one of the variants of the 7.62 ammo produced by IMI is likewise the same ammo used for the ubiquitous AK-47, and so the presence of this ammo box does not, in and of itself, prove that there were Israeli rifles.

As for the rest of the images, the only other immediately identifiable weapons are a stack of missiles which bear the markings “RKT 68” and “FOR LAUNCHER TYPE JL 100.” The JL-100 is a variant of a French missile system (SNEB) designed to be mounted to a fuel pod on a fixed-wing aircraft. These rockets have a calibre of 68mm, which dovetails with the other descriptive text. These rockets were also found in Aleppo in December, 2016, as part of another stash belonging to rebel forces.

In summary, the sole evidence in the photos of Israeli weaponry is a single ammunition box, while there are likewise weapons from many other origins visible, too, and on this basis, this story is ruled as being only partially true.

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