Michael Enright joined the Kurdish rebel force YPG in 2015 after seeing footage of US journalist James Foley being beheaded by Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John.
The 53-year-old previously starred in films from Knight and Day starring Tom Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest. But despite brushing shoulders with A-listers, Enright said he wanted to find a higher purpose.
“As an actor I played roles before where I was a SWAT team policeman going into a heavy situation. It looks very intense. In actual fact it’s not like that at all,” he told The Sun. “You just don’t freak out about it until you’re literally right on top of a fight.”
Enright, who was given the name Mustafa Rojava by his Kurdish colleagues, is originally from Manchester, where a suicide bomber killed 23 people at an Ariana Grande concert in May.
“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.
“I was heartbroken because of the age of the targets, those little girls.” He said the attacks in London Bridge and Manchester had “hardened his heart” and has made him all the more determined to fight.
“Daesh are only tough guys when they’re fighting innocent, defenceless people,” he said. “But I’ve arrested and interrogated loads of them, and when their hands are tied they become sheep.
“I’m not going to leave until IS are gone. At which point I’ll give all the Kurds a big kiss, then go home to Manchester and give my mother a big kiss.”