A former soldier and father of five is heading to Iraq to join the fight against ISIS as he believes the British government is not doing enough to help Christians there. He is self-funding the trip from his income as a joiner.
Although around 2,000 Brits have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS, only a handful have gone to oppose them.
Jamie McCarroll, 40, has yet to fully explain the situation to his children, three daughters and two stepsons, although they are aware that he is going. He told the Scotsman:
“I’m leaving my life here and my kids, they’re my whole life. I’ve got my job too. I’m giving up a lot to go over there to nothing. But I understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.
“I don’t really think about something bad happening. It’s not something you think about because if you do you won’t last long. I’d rather think about going over there and helping those people than worrying about my own safety.”
The former soldier with the Royal Highland Fusiliers plans to join Dwekh Nawsha, a Christian militant group otherwise known as “The Sacrificers” who were founded in 2014 to protect Assyrian Christians from persecution by jihadists. He explained:
“I’m going to be joining up with the Dwekh Nawsha to help protect the Christians from Isis in Northern Iraq,” Mr McCarroll said. “They aren’t getting any help from any organisations, and just looking at everything that’s going on is so difficult.
“They’re being murdered all over that part of the world by Islamic State if they refuse to convert their religion. It’s very bleak for them as there’s no one helping them at all. The UK and US governments aren’t doing anything to help them.
“I’ll be on the frontline fighting, putting my life at risk, and knowing that my children might never see their father again. I couldn’t live with myself doing nothing, when I knew I could help.”
Although around 2,000 Brits are believed to have travelled to the Middle East to fight with ISIS, only a handful are making the trip to fight against them. Mr McCarroll will be following in the footsteps of those few who have chosen to go, such as Jim Atherton, a grandfather from Tyne and Wear with no military training who sold his beloved car to finance his travel and to purchase weapons and join Dwekh Nawsha earlier this year.
Like Mr Atherton, Mr McCarroll said that he would be flying into Erbil. “From there I’ll be picked up and taken to a safe house where we will sort out our weapons,” he said.
“After that we’re going to go to training before we go to the front line. I plan on going myself as I’m currently in contact with people who are over there fighting at the moment, I’m just preparing to sort my flights out.
“I hope to fly out in the next six to eight weeks and everything is entirely self-funded, we have to get ourselves out there.”
However, Mr McCarroll, who enlisted in the army at the age of 18 and keeps himself fit through boxing stressed that there are already too many untrained fighters there, who can be a liability to their comrades.
“You need to have formal training if you want to go out and help, but there’s people out fighting at the moment who’ve not got any formal training and who’ve been there for over a year now.
“I started when I was 18 and joined the Royal Highland Fusiliers and went to Bosnia, so I know what a genocide is like.
“I’ve got friends who are in Iraq at the moment doing close protection work, choosing the money, but this isn’t anything to do with money at all. “ISIS are turning women and children into slaves and executing people if they refuse to convert.
“I feel terrible that I’m not over there helping. They’re wiping out Christianity and there’ll be none left and that’s where Christianity started, in the Middle East.”