3 Aug 2016

British actor returns to Syria to fight Isis

A British actor who abandoned his Hollywood career to fight Islamic State has returned to Syria for a second time as a volunteer.

Last year Michael Enright was said by some foreign fighters not to be up to the job. They accused him of violence and there were reports that he was kicked out of fighting units.

But the actor said Kurdish fighters had welcomed him and that he had stayed much longer than other foreign volunteers. Enright added that he wanted to clear his name, before secretly crossing back into Syria last weekend.

In an exclusive interview with Channel 4 News, 52-year-old Enright, from Moss Side in Manchester, said: “Well, first of all, none of the soldiers I fought with said that at all. The only people who have said anything negative were the people I came with from the academy, I came over the hill with.

“The academy is a place we train, yeah. I came over the hill with four or five guys. They didn’t want me there. I had no military background. I was an actor and I didn’t realise they really looked down on that. And I am old, so far as they are concerned.

‘Last man standing’

“Their egos were bruised and they didn’t want me there. The YPG weren’t prepared to send me (away). They thought they were going to be in control and they weren’t. Every single one of them went home. I was the last man standing because I was determined.”

Enright, who claims he has donated a captured IS flag to the Imperial War Museum in London, tells Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jonathan Rugman that it was the plight of Yazidis fleeing execution, rape and slavery at the hands of so called Islamic State which compelled him to act.

“Somebody has to stand up. Somebody’s got to. I mean as we speak right now, you know, little girls are being raped. You know we should stand up to that.”

The bit-part Hollywood actor, who appeared in Pirates Of The Caribbean alongside Johnny Depp, tells Channel News that when he tried going back to Hollywood, he was detained for six weeks. He was also questioned by the British police after he was deported home from America.

Banned from America, Enright admits his career, alongside the likes of Tom Cruise and Anne Hathaway, is over. Instead he’s found a cause which he says has given his life meaning, one he thinks worth dying for.

“So does that mean fighting in Syria is the rest of your career, the rest of your life?” Rugman asks him. “No, it’s not going to be the rest of my life because either I will die over there fighting this time, I guess in that case it would be. If God willing I don’t, that doesn’t happen and I make it out, then it won’t be a long fight anyway, Isis are not going to be around in that area very long, in my opinion, at all.”

‘Where’s your caliphate?’

Enright says he’s returning now for what he hopes will be the capture of Raqqa, the Syrian town serving as the IS capital. “I think if you ask any volunteer, any western volunteers, would you like to be part of that fight, I think all the hands would go up for that.”

Asked if was returning for what he saw as a “final push”, he said: “Yes, well to take their capital. To take their capital. I mean, you know, where’s your country now? Where’s your caliphate?”