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City trader Harry reveals why he joined fight against ISIS in Syria

  • Harry, 28, from Peterborough joined Kurds to fight ISIS[1] in Syria
  • He said he’s not bloodthirsty’ but wanted to fight for democracy
  • Jac, 22, from Bournemouth, volunteered as ‘wanted to make a difference’
  • Channel 4 filmed the Brits on their dangerous journey in the war zone

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A former City trader has revealed why he left everything he knew and loved behind to fight the Islamic State in Northern Syria[2]. Harry, 28, from Peterborough, is one of three British men who appear on a Channel 4 documentary this evening about the growing number of foreigners volunteering to fight ISIS in ‘amateur’ units. Speaking about why he decided to go to the war zone, Harry said: ‘ISIS is one of the greatest threats the world have ever seen.

‘The Kurds I volunteered with are fighting for freedom and democracy, they are fighting for us. They are the last line of defense against the greatest menace the world has ever faced.

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City Trader Harry Reveals Why He Joined Fight Against ISIS In Syria

Former City trader Harry appeared on today’s This Morning to explain why he volunteered to fight in Syria

‘I want to fight but it’s not because I am bloodthirsty, it’s because I want to bring democracy to this region.

‘I need to stop talking about things and pick up a rifle and fight. I need to start killing people for my beliefs. We are fighting a twisted warped ideology.’

The group Harry joined as an unpaid volunteer was called the YPG, whose name roughly translates to ‘People’s Protection Unit’. They were made up of both male and female Kurdish fighters, as well as volunteers from other countries across the world including Germany and the U.S. Harry, who has returned to the UK following his time with the Kurdish unit, appeared on today’s This Morning[3] to further explain his journey and exactly what it cost him.

City Trader Harry Reveals Why He Joined Fight Against ISIS In Syria

Harry said he broke up with his girlfriend over his decision but has no regrets as he felt it was right to combat ISIS and fight for democracy

He said: ‘My girlfriend couldn’t understand why I was doing it and our relationship broke down before I went because of my decision to go.’

Harry, who did some training with the Territorial Army before he left to fight, said the rest of his family ‘understand now why I went and what I was trying to achieve’. But he added, even if they hadn’t supported him, he would still have gone and risked his life to fight for what he believed in. He said: ‘Just because your parents are worried about you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the right thing and make a difference.’

Harry is now back in the UK lobbying the government to change their foreign policy using contacts he gained from a background working in politics.

He said: ‘Volunteering on the frontline was just half of the battle. Now I’m back, I want to tell people what is really going on, what I have seen and what I fought for. I have had meetings at the foreign office and I am lobbying the government to change its policy.

‘The government needs to do something and they need to do it now. It (ISIS) is a brutal ideology that is not being combatted effectively. We are already seeing the effects with the thousands of refugees.’

City Trader Harry Reveals Why He Joined Fight Against ISIS In Syria

The 28-year-old said he now wants to lobby the government for change after returning from the war zone

City Trader Harry Reveals Why He Joined Fight Against ISIS In Syria

Harry and two other Brits joined a Kurd unit, members of which are seen running for cover on a Channel 4 documentary

Tonight’s Channel 4 film, Frontline Fighting: The Brits Battling ISIS, was shot entirely by three former Armyrats © military officers and vividly shows the danger Harry and his unit were in as they fought to regain control of ISIS seized territories. Another of the British volunteers featured is Jac, 22, a former IT worker and painter and decorator from Bournemouth. Explaining why he signed up to fight, he said: ‘There are people over there getting blown to pieces every day, having their hands and legs cuts off, forced to be sex slaves and I am just sat there fixing people’s computers and their walls.

‘It made me think “what the f*** am I doing with my life? Fighting is the simplest thing you can do. I have no issue killing these guys who are trying to kill me.’

Jac, who is now in Iraq following his time in Syria, said he was under no illusions about what could happen to him if caught by ISIS.

City Trader Harry Reveals Why He Joined Fight Against ISIS In Syria

Ex soldier George Tyldesley, pictured in Northern Syria, was one of the men who agreed to film the footage from the war zone for Channel 4

City Trader Harry Reveals Why He Joined Fight Against ISIS In Syria

Pictured is another ex-soldier turned cameraman, Mauricio Gris, who followed three Brits who volunteered to fight ISIS after being moved by the plight of the people living there

‘If they capture me, they will hold me hostage for months, torture me, kill me in a video having my head cut off or drowned in a cage or something disgraceful,’ he said. But like Jim, 40, from Stoke on Trent, he believes it is a risk worth taking to fight for freedom. Jim, a former soldier, volunteered for six months in the same unit as Jac and Harry and has since returned to the region to carry on fighting.

He said: ‘I became aware western people were volunteering to come from newspaper articles. What really jolted me was a picture I saw on Facebook of an ISIS fighter holding up the severed head of a woman. It was one of the most evil images I have seen in my life, it effected me a lot.

‘I was a drive to do something. I thought “if you don’t, I will”.’

He added: ‘This has been a fascinating, mind-blowing and unforgettable experience. Is it worth risking your life for? It just feels right.’

City Trader Harry Reveals Why He Joined Fight Against ISIS In Syria

Ex officer Michael McEvoy, pictured, was another of the cameramen for Frontline Fighting: The Brits Battling ISIS which will air on Channel 4 this evening

City Trader Harry Reveals Why He Joined Fight Against ISIS In Syria

The Brits joined an ‘amateur’ group called the ‘People’s Protection Unit’ to fight against IS fighters, like those pictured, because they believe in democracy

For American, Bob, 24, from Wisconsin, it was images of the Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who was captured and set on fire by ISIS that inspired him to volunteer. He said: ‘That was when I knew I had to go and make a difference and fight pure evil.’

The three British men spent several months earlier this year fighting in the north eastern part of Syria – building up to a major operation, captured in this film, to clear ISIS out as far the Abdul Aziz mountain range. Speaking of the film, Siobhan Sinnerton from Channel 4 said: ‘The fight against ISIS is one of the most important stories of our time, but also one that is incredibly hard to tell because of the difficulties of access.

‘We feel that this film gives an extremely rare first-hand account of what it’s like to be in close combat with ISIS, and we re very grateful that the film-makers chose to come to Channel 4 with such extraordinary footage.’

Since the film was shot, seven of the soldiers who became friends to Jim, Harry and Jac have been killed in battle, as well as a volunteer, Kevin 22, from Germany.

He had told the crew earlier this year: ‘I am nervous but I feel happy that I will fight.’

Frontline Fighting: The Brits Battling ISIS is on Channel 4 Wednesday at 10pm

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References

  1. ^ ISIS (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  2. ^ Syria (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  3. ^ This Morning (www.itv.com)

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