Manchester-born actor who quit Hollywood to fight Isis plays Ariana Grande in the former jihadi capital

‘[I thought] because I’m from Manchester and they came to my city and they tried to shut up Ariana Grande, that she [should] be the first one to sing,’ Pirates of the Caribbean actor says

Monday 23 October 2017 14:06
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Michael Enright, who had a role in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and episodes of CGI, was inspired to join the YPG after Isis burned Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh alive in January 2015
Michael Enright, who had a role in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and episodes of CGI, was inspired to join the YPG after Isis burned Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh alive in January 2015

The British Hollywood actor who travelled to Syria to volunteer in the fight against Isis has been filmed playing an Ariana Grande song from his phone after US-backed forces managed to drive the militants from their de facto Syrian capital.

The US-funded Arab-Kurdish alliance of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters declared victory over Isis in Raqqa city last week. Photos and video of the SDF celebrating – among them Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units), whose ranks include several foreign volunteers – have been widely circulated in recent days.

Michael Enright, who had a role in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and episodes of CSI, was inspired to join the YPG after Isis burned captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh to death in January 2015.

Footage uploaded to YouTube on Sunday by Kurdish ANF news shows him standing in Naim Square in Raqqa city centre, holding a phone and an AK-47.

While once the centre of public life in the city, Naim became the scene of grisly public executions and the now-infamous video of Isis tanks doing victory laps after seizing the city in 2014.

With the shells of bombed-out houses behind him, Mr Enright says that Isis put heads on spikes on Naim Square’s roundabout, and ransacked and burned a music shop over the road for not adhering to its extremist ideology.

“[I thought that because] I’m from Manchester and they came to my city – they came to my city – and they tried to shut up Ariana Grande, that she [should] be the first one to sing,” he said, referring to the Isis-claimed Manchester Arena bombing of a concert by the US pop star earlier this year that left 22 people dead.

Mr Enright starts playing Grande’s song “Bang Bang” on a phone and addresses Isis directly.

“So you didn’t shut her up, and you didn’t shut my city up, but she’s singing ‘Bang Bang’, and you know what happened? I came and we did ‘bang bang’, and you left, you ran away, and so light is coming here now, freedom is coming back here now, singing is coming back here now.”

“Ariana, this is your first concert here,” he says winking. “God bless.”

The jihadis now cling onto mostly desert territory on the border with Iraq, but civilians have paid a high price in the battle to reclaim Raqqa.

Local monitors and Airwars, which tracks US-led air strikes, estimate that up to 1,800 people died in the four months of fighting, and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that 80 per cent of the city has been destroyed.

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