Alleged stockpile of 5,000 STG-44s in Syria
The US backed Free Syrian Army [FSA] allegedly uncovered a stockpile of 5,000 STG-44s in 2012.
A video published by the FSA has rifle collectors forming at the mouth. An STG-44, even in non-firing condition, is a highly sought after collectors items in the USA.
The STG-44 is the first assault rifle that ever went into large scale production. It was developed in Germany during WWII. After Hitler declined to put the gun in production, some generals went behind his back and set up production of the weapon. It quickly became the German’s army’s most popular gun.
Russian engineer Mikhail Kalashnikov used captured STG-44s as part of the inspiration for his AK-47.
It is unclear how the weapons came to be in Syria. The Soviet Union recovered upwards of a hundred thousand pieces that were made by Germany in 44 and 45. After WWII, East Germany, Argentina, Czech Republic, and Yugoslavia used some of the weapons in the 50s. However, many were delivered to guerrilla forces. French forces encountered STG-44s in Algeria.
In the 1980s, Yugoslavia sold all their STG-44s to friendly regimes in Africa and the Middle East. During the US occupation of Iraq, several were recovered from various militias. So they are known to still be in use.
These rifles may have been sold to Syria by either the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia. However, they may have been delivered to Syria near the end of War II in a last ditch effort by Germany to incite the Arabs to attack British forces.
The weapon fires 7.92×33 rounds. The round was adopted by the Lebanese military after WWII and is still available in the Middle East. It is entirely possible that the FSA is currently using the rifles in battle. On the downside, it is also entirely possible that the FSA couldn’t transport the weapons and simply blew them up.