Bellingcat

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Another Case Of Weapons Mis-Identification In The Media - "British AS-50s" On Al-Arabiya

Today I've seen people getting very excited about this following video, showing a large caliber rifle


Much of the excitement around this video is thanks to this Al-Arabiya article, which claims the weapon is a British AS-50 sniper/anti-materiel rifle, and questions how it reached the hands of the opposition.  The problem is, this isn't an AS-50, and doesn't look anything like one.  Here's the rifle from the video:


Now carefully compare this to the AS-50


Now at a passing glance they might look the same, but if you take time to examine the details you'll notice they are actually totally different.  What the rifle in the video does match far more closely is a Chinese M99, pictured below


Again, there's the question of where these are coming from, and they aren't the first unusual Chinese weapon to make a sudden appearance in recent months.  The problem I have with this report is it'll get repeated again and again and eventually it'll be accepted by many people that the opposition has British AS-50 rifles, even though there's no actual evidence to support that.  It's not the first time I've seen totally inaccurate reporting of arms in the media, and although it might seem like minor nit-picking these reports can result in a total mis-interpretation of events on the ground, and that can lead to more confusion about an already extremely complex situation.

Related Articles
Sky News Arabic Misidentifies Weapons As SA-24 MANPADS
The Daily Mirror Confuses Sidewinders With Stingers
A Great Example Of How Not To Write About Chemical Weapons And Arms In Syria


You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

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