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Hollywood’s Jihadi Hunter: The only action this British actor has seen is in movies. But here he is in the killing fields of the deadly war on IS. So is he a hero or a fool?

  • Michael Enright turned his back on Hollywood to join the fight against ISIS
  • The 51-year-old has no military background but now sleeps next to AK-47s
  • He has been in Syria for two months receiving basic training from the YPG
  • But is angry Britain is not bombing parts of Syria where he is ‘out manned’

Actor Michael Enright looks every inch the steely Hollywood tough guy, clad in combat fatigues with an AK-47 slung across his shoulder.

But this British veteran of countless movies – including Pirates Of The Caribbean alongside Johnny Depp, and Knight And Day with Tom Cruise – is no longer just playing a role as he embarks on the fight of his life.

He says he has turned his back on the glamour of Tinseltown to join the desperate fight against the terrorists of Islamic State, propelled into real-life action by their barbaric slaughter of Western hostages.

Michael Enright, an actor from Manchester who has made a career in Hollywood, is supposedly fighting ISIS in Syria.
**Images taken from his FaceBook page, supplied to the Picture Desk by MOS News desk, from journalist Reinhard Keck**

Now, instead of mixing with A-listers such as Cruise and Anne Hathaway at Hollywood parties, 51-year-old Enright, who has no military background, sleeps in the Syrian mountains, his Kalashnikov rifle constantly at his side.

And he knows that the perilous journey he made to join the rag-tag, poorly-equipped YPG Kurdish rebels in the Sinjar mountains of northern Syria might be a one-way ticket.

His determination to try to halt the murderous march of IS across Iraq and Syria began to crystalise after the beheading of American journalist James Foley last August by the notorious British killer Jihadi John.

He is only too aware that, were he to fall into IS hands, he could suffer a similar fate to Foley and tragic British hostages David Haines and Alan Henning, who were both decapitated and had their deaths recorded in horrific videos.

In Syria, it is common knowledge that Islamic State are prepared to pay £65,000 ($100,000) for a Western hostage. However, Enright has a contingency plan, which he outlined with icy calmness: ‘If I’m about to get caught, then you know, we keep one bullet back for ourselves.’

Talking to The Mail on Sunday by mobile phone from Syria, Enright, who was born in Manchester, revealed his determination to stand up to IS. He said: ‘It’s got to a point where I just want to absolutely annihilate them, and kill them on sight.’

Michael Enright, an actor from Manchester who has made a career in Hollywood, is supposedly fighting ISIS in Syria.
With Tom Cruise
**Images taken from his FaceBook page, supplied to the Picture Desk by MOS News desk, from journalist Reinhard Keck**

e added: ‘IS are just an abomination. This is a call to humanity, it’s a call to everybody, to do whatever we can, in whatever way we can.’

Enright has been in Syria for more than two months, receiving basic training from the YPG after risking his life to reach them.

He wanted to join President George W Bush’s war against terror after 9/11 in 2001, and planned to enlist in the US Army back then before being talked out of it by friends.

But 14 years on, the final straw for him came in January when he saw the IS video of Jordanian pilot Muath Al-Kassasbeh being burned to death.

He keeps the gruesome footage on his mobile phone and watches it whenever his zeal to fight wanes.

The actor said that he has endured punishing physical training with the YPG, as well as learning how to assemble and dismantle a Kalashnikov blindfolded, so that he can do it in the dead of night on the front line.

Like all other rebel fighters, he sleeps in full uniform on a mat on the floor with his loaded rifle next to him, in case of an attack. ‘You sleep in your uniform, you wear it 24 hours a day,’ he said. ‘You’ll sleep next to your Kalashnikov. I call mine Olga, because she’s Romanian. It’s my constant companion, so I gave her a name.’

Enright has been a journeyman actor from the age of 16. After growing up in the deprived Moss Side area of Manchester, he received his big break when he won a place in a children’s pantomime at Butlin’s in Skegness, Lincolnshire.

Deciding that acting was his future, he made two trips to the US to try out for roles and fell in love with the country. When he was 19, he moved to Hollywood permanently. His most recent screen work includes parts in the TV action series, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D

His most notable film role was that of a merchant seaman in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, released in 2006. He appeared in 2009 in Old Dogs, which starred the late Robin Williams and John Travolta, and has fond memories of working with both actors. ‘Robin, John and I were ad-libbing on the set all the time, you know, making everybody laugh,’ he recalled.

But in the back of his mind there was always something nagging him. He said: ‘For me, the biggest regret of my life was not going to Afghanistan when 9/11 happened. The beheading videos brought out the same kind of feelings in me, and a real sense that I had a duty to America. I really feel a debt to the country. You know, they welcomed me with open arms.

‘And then what added to it all was that it was an Englishman [Jihadi John], that he had an English accent. And I just, it just touched me personally, in a very deep way. ‘

The actor did not tell any of his Hollywood friends that he was heading to Syria as he wanted to keep it a secret, in case airport authorities were tipped off and tried to prevent him.

Nor did he tell his mother or sister, who still live in Manchester, in advance of his plans, though he has written since. He said: ‘I wrote my mother a letter. My sister just got diagnosed with cancer, she’s going through radiotherapy right now. And so I’m just hoping that we both get through it.’

He has also now revealed his ‘mission’ to friends on Facebook. One of them, Walt Becker, director of Old Dogs, called him straight away to find out if it was true. Enright recalled: ‘Walt said, “Man I’m flabbergasted.” But he added, “Bro, if anyone can make a difference, it’s you”.’

He believes most of his friends would have tried to dissuade him from going to Syria if he had told them in advance. ‘I didn’t really want to hear that negativity.

‘So I just went, and then told them on Facebook. I apologised to all my friends for not being able to say a proper goodbye to them. Because, you know, I might not be coming back, I don’t know.’

Enright’s journey to Syria began when he contacted a British SAS friend of his called Rob who had served in Iraq.

Rob put him in touch with the YPG, and told him to communicate with them through a Facebook page, called Lions of Rojava.

The actor was told by his YPG recruiters to fly to the city of Sulaymaniyah, in Iraqi Kurdistan, via Istanbul, but he was deeply concerned when no one came to meet him from the flight as arranged, so he checked into a cheap hotel to plan his next move.

Both Rob, to whom he spoke by phone, and the hotel receptionist who befriended him, advised him not to travel any further because of the risk of unwittingly falling into the hands of IS. But he persisted and made contact with the YPG fighters through Facebook again.

‘They then put me in touch with another guy and said, yeah OK, they’d come round and pick me up.

‘At this point, I’m still pretty scared, because I don’t know the difference between a Kurd, and an IS member. The receptionist said if you don’t know them, don’t go. And I said, “well I need to go, that’s why I’ve come.” ’

He took what seems to be a far-from-foolproof precaution, arranging for the receptionist to call up to his room when the men arrived to tell him if they were Kurdish or not. He hoped this at least would give him a head-start if he had to run for his life. ‘When the Kurds came for me, I didn’t know if they were IS and they were going to kidnap me. And I was going on the word of my hotel reception guy,’ he said.

Thankfully, the welcome party was genuine and Enright was taken on a hazardous three-day journey in the back of a truck across mountains and rocky dirt track roads, before crossing the mighty Tigris river in a rubber dinghy.

Once he had reached a secret location, stationed alongside around 30 other white Westerners who had joined the YPG, Enright’s basic training began.

Apart from endless weapons drills and some rudimentary language classes, there was physical training, which he described as ‘running up and down hills, basically’.

Michael Enright a ‘Hollywood actor’ Enright has gone to Syria to fight against Islamic State. He is fighting alongside the Kurdish YPG.
Michael somewhere in Northern Syria.        ***IMAGE SUPPLIED BY ABUL TAHER***


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