A British actor battling Islamic State in the Syrian city of Raqqa has said he is fighting to avenge the recent terror attack on his hometown of Manchester.
Michael Enright, who starred alongside Johnny Depp in the blockbuster film Pirates of the Caribbean, has now swapped his cutlass for a kalashnikov.
The 52-year-old from Moss Side is now embedded with troops from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are closing in on Isil jihadists in the group’s so-called capital. The SDF is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia, which Mr Enright joined in 2015.
“I will remember Manchester Arena and the two attacks in London on Westminster Bridge and at Borough Market,” he said.
“The attack in Manchester especially brought a lot of emotions. I’m used to a lot of death, and terrorist attacks, but this was different, it’s my home town,” he said, referring to the suicide bomb attack that killed 23 concert-goers at Manchester Arena in May.
“I’ll give ISIS no quarter. I won’t expect much mercy from them and I will not give them much mercy, that I can promise you,” he said. He said it was difficult to hear the news from his home country, but it has strengthened his resolve.
“It might be a bit strange but when I heard about the attack on London Bridge I thought, ‘I wish I’d been there’.
“I’d have grabbed the nearest knife. I don’t know which way it would have gone but at least I could have gone for them.
“It just absolutely hardened my heart. Every single day now when there’s an operation here in Syria against ISIS I’m the first to put my hand up to volunteer.”
Mr Enright is one of dozens of foreign fighters have travelled to the self-styled Kurdish enclave of Rojava to join the fight.
Most have a military background. Many have been recruited via Facebook, and some have funded their airfare on crowdfunding websites.
The SDF has made major ground in recent weeks, managing to reach the Old City’s 1,300-year-old walls. Isil seized Raqqa, their first major city stronghold in Syria, in January 2014.
The city later became the de facto capital of Isil's self-proclaimed caliphate, stretching across lands controlled by the militant group in Syria and Iraq.