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British volunteer who fought ISIS warns against taking back UK jihadis – “The SS of ISIS”

Mr Gifford, who fought alongside the Kurdish YPG militia, warned international fighters are the “SS of ISIS” and need “keeping away from society”. According to the Government at least 900 British nationals have travelled to Syria or Iraq to join ISIS, a genocidal terror group which slaughters its opponents and sold women from Iraq’s Yazidi minority into sexual slavery.

A significant number of these people, up to 40 percent according to one estimate, have since returned to the UK.

Another 20 percent are believed to have been killed whilst the remaining 40 percent are still in the region.

Recently ISIS bride Shamima Begum won a Court of Appeal case allowing her to return to Britain and fight the decision to revoke her British nationality.

Speaking to Express.co.uk Mr Gifford said: “There’s a debate in the UK at the moment about whether we should invite British people who joined ISIS as volunteers, whether we should invite them back.

Macer Gifford pictured in Syria fighting ISIS (Image: Macer Gifford )

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Eight people were killed in the 2017 London Bridge terror attack (Image: GETTY)

“Perhaps give them a slap on the wrist, they might end up in jail for five years, but largely try and reintegrate them back into British society.

“There’re genuine people trying to do that at the moment and I often say to them look, you do realise these people are the SS of ISIS.

“They are so fanatically committed that they’ve travelled a thousand miles to join them. They were captured reluctantly at the very end.

“To say to yourself ‘oh but they were young when they went, they might have psychological problems etr’ is to really miss the point of exactly who the victims are here and who the aggressors are and also who are the people we need to be keeping away from society.”

READ MORE: Police consider dropping phrases like ‘Islamist terror’

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ISIS claimed responsibility for the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing (Image: GETTY)



Mr Gifford, who left Britain in 2014 after being horrified by footage of ISIS atrocities, fought against the terror group in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

He was involved in the battle of Raqqa in 2017, which saw the ISIS capital captured by troops from the western supported Syrian Democratic Forces.

Mr Gifford’s book about his experience, ‘Fighting Evil: The Ordinary Man who went to War Against ISIS’, was published earlier this year.

He added: “The SS of ISIS, these international volunteers, were often at the very front.


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Macor Gifford pictured with Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria (Image: Macer Gifford )

Macer Gifford fought with the YPG against ISIS in Syria (Image: GETTY)

“There’s a famous ISIS saying, which I also use believe it or not, they say all the time as if it’s a good thing ‘we love death as much as you love life’ and I often use that phrase as well to remind people what we’re fighting against.

“I literally say you do realise these people like death as much as we love life.”

ISIS shocked the world in 2014 when the terror group surged across Iraq and Syria, slaughtering thousands of soldiers and civilians along the way.

In June 2014 the group seized Mosul, Iraq’s third biggest city.

It would later go on to claim responsibility for a wave of terrorist attacks across the west including those targeting Paris, Manchester and London.

Describing combat against ISIS during the 2017 battle of Raqqa Mr Gifford said: “It was very much like Stalingrad where they had three or four years to prepare.

“They dug trenches in the streets, all the buildings had tunnels between them, every building was a fortification, every street was a barricade and there were thousands of mines everywhere.

Macer Gifford and other YPG fighters with a captured ISIS flag (Image: GETTY)

“Hundreds of people died in Raqqa alone just from the IEDs.

“One in every three ISIS fighters typically wore a suicide vest so even if they’re close to death they would be lying on the ground ready to pull the pin in the last moments.”

Mohammed Emwazi, a British ISIS fighter nicknamed ‘Jihadi John’ was killed in November 2015 after beheading a number of western hostages in videos released by the terror group.

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