It reads like a Hollywood blockbuster.
An actor known for his minor roles in everything from “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Old Dogs” to “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” and “Cold Case” becomes incensed by the merciless killings in ISIS videos. He abandons his comfortable life in Los Angeles to go to Syria, where he knows no one but wants to join a Kurdish fighting force. He sleeps in bombed-out homes in over 100-degree heat, without so much as a fan. He kicks down doors and stands in the line of enemy fire, all in an effort to eradicate the brutal terrorist group.
Only this isn’t for reel. For British-born actor Michael Enright, this is for real.
“After I saw the cowardly way James Foley was killed, I knew I had to do something,” Enright, 51, told FOX411 from Syria this week. “And what was most poignant for me,” he said, recalling that the American journalist was beheaded by a man with a British accent, “was that it was done by an Englishman – which is the exact opposite to how I feel toward Americans. I have such a deep sense of gratitude to the United States.”
Enright traveled to Syria’s war-ravaged region of Rojava early this year, joined the Kurdish YPG and spent several weeks in their “Academy” training program with other Western volunteer fighters. The YPG and allied rebels have made notable gains recently,t aking control of a number of key villages and land in northeastern Syria and seizing a large number of weapons and ammunition in former ISIS strongholds.
These gains came shortly after ISIS launched an attack on the city of Kobani and massacred around 200 Kurdish civilians – including women and children.
According to Enright, ISIS made it through checkpoints by donning uniforms of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group that is fighting both ISIS and President Bashar Al-Assad’s Syrian troops. Enright said the ISIS fighters fired gunshots in the air – often a signal for celebration – in the early morning, and many people emerged from their homes, making them easy targets.
“They beheaded children, and suicide bombers went to checkpoints,” Enright said.
In addition to fighting, Enright said he has been tasked with photographing everything from firefights to dead ISIS members who have been “eaten by dogs.” Some, he said, are just teenagers.
Because he is an actor, Enright has attracted a great deal of international attention – including some not-so-positive press. Last month, former U.S. soldier Jordan Matson, who at the time was also with the YPG, wrote on Facebook that Enright was a “mentally unstable actor” who was there to work on a movie script. Matson wrote that Enright was “in danger of being killed by one of many Westerners and Kurds who want to bury him,” and he named several YPG volunteers who he said would corroborate his story.
Enright dismissed Matson’s accusations as “rumors” and said he “couldn’t fathom” why he would write such a post.
“He didn’t just throw me under the bus; he threw the Kurds under the bus. They would never hurt a Westerner,” he said.
“I have no interest in turning my story into a movie. I am not writing a script. This is not about me. The emphasis should be this evil scourge called ISIS.”
Matson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Enright insisted the only reason he decided to talk to the media was to illuminate the severity of the situation, and to call on the UK government to provide air support against ISIS.
While this marks Enright’s first time as a fighter, he is no stranger to global conflict. He said he traveled to Kolkata, India, when he was in his early 20s and met with Mother Teresa, who was working with orphaned children. He showed photographs of himself working with refugees following the Rwandan genocide 20 years ago.
Enright said he doesn’t know when he will return to L.A. – or if he will ever return to acting.
“I don’t care about being famous or any of that crap,” he said. “I made a commitment to stay until ISIS is at least out of Rojava.”