A FORMER City broker in London who volunteered to join the fight against Daesh in Syria has insisted the only way to defeat the militants is “with force of arms”.

Macer Gifford went to Syria three years ago to volunteer first with the Kurdish militia, and is now fighting with an Assyrian unit, part of the US-backed forces battling Daesh.

The 30-year-old Briton has been questioned by UK and US government officials, but insists: “I am not a terrorist. I am here defending the people of Syria against terrorists.”

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He has written and lectured about the situation in Syria, with first-hand experience of Daesh’s evolving tactics, and believes the militants can only be defeated by sheer force.

“The Islamic State [group] is actually an exceptional opponent,” he said. “We can’t negotiate them away, we can’t wish them away. The only way we can defeat them is with force of arms.”

Along with two American comrades, he has been facing Daesh snipers on the front line in the city of Raqqa.

They are among several British and American volunteers involved in the battle for the city in north-eastern Syria that the militants declared the capital of their self-proclaimed caliphate.

Islamic extremists from Europe, Asia and North Africa have boosted the ranks of Daesh, while Shiite Iranian and Lebanese militias have sided with the Syrian government.