The Islamic State (Isis) has released photos of its 'Special Forces' brandishing US made M16 assault rifles in a propaganda effort to display the group's purported military might.
According to several pictures circulated online, more than a dozen jihadists are seen posing in a line, sporting balaclavas and black military gear similar to those used by traditional Swat teams.
Taken in, what appears, to be a large tent, the photos were posted on social media by an Iraqi fighter, who claimed they depicted a squad with IS 'Special Forces' or Qawat al-Muhaam al-Khaasa.
Analysts said the release came at a moment where the Sunni extremists are facing significant pressure both in Syria and Iraq following the launch if a US-led aerial campaign against them.
"[It] is part of the very well-oiled Islamic State propaganda machine," said Charlie Winter, a researcher for the London-based counter-extremism Quilliam Foundation Think Tank, to IBTimes UK.
"They are trying to appear as formidable as possible ... to portray themselves as a state with conventional army and separate units instead of a jihadist group."
In a similar fashion, IS has previously released photos and footage from its training camps.
Winter said the 'Special Forces' photos were most likely taken in Iraq's second largest city of Mosul.
M16 rifles were among a large quantity of US military equipment supplied to Iraq that was stolen by IS, as it conquered large swathes of the country overrunning several army bases, earlier this year.
An October report on cartridge fired by IS fighters showed that US-manufactured ammunition used for M16 rifles were found predominantly in Iraq.
According to the report by independent arms-tracing group Conflict Armament Research, Chinese and Soviet made ammunitions from the 1970s–80s were more popular in Syria instead.
However, Winter said that there were reports suggesting IS was now running low on M16 bullets.
"They do have the weapons but there is not much M16 ammo floating around Iraq at the moment," he said.