Irish Woman Held In Syria Will Be Allowed Return Home

13 Mars, 2019, 14:23 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Lisa Smith. Image ITV

Earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said she has a right to return to Ireland.

Former Irish soldier Smith (37), from Dundalk, Co Louth, was detained by USA forces in northern Syria on Thursday having left Ireland in 2015 to travel to the war-torn region.

"As an Irish citizen, she will have the right to return to Ireland, as will her child".

Irish officials are in contact with U.S. authorities, who - along with Kurdish forces - are believed to be holding Smith in northern Syria.

She transferred to the Air Corps where she worked for a time as an attendant on the Government jet and served Government ministers including former President Mary McAleese and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, of the Islamic Educational and Cultural Centre Ireland, said the Muslim community in the Republic was shocked to learn about the case of Smith.

She said she realised there had to be more to life and after exploring spirituality she decided Islam was for her.

"I remember thinking it was odd that she left suddenly, because usually people would stay on for a long time once they got into the Air Corps", he said.

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Following the death of her husband, whom she met overseas, Smith (37) now wants to return to Ireland with her two-year-old child.

Her family have declined to comment and have appealed for privacy.

Covered by a burka and speaking with an Irish accent she was described as a British woman.

This is due to it being easy to accuse her of crimes she may have committed in fleeing to ISIS-held Syrian strongholds, yet nearly impossible to compile proof of such crimes.

While Britain has experienced ISIS-inspired terrorism, Ireland has not.

In a statement over the weekend, the Department of Foreign Affairs said there has been no recent request for consular assistance from any Irish citizen inside Syria.

Varadkar has made no secret of the fact he does not agree with the idea of making any individual stateless.

Aleksander Bekmirzaev, who denies being a fighter, is being held in a Kurdish camp.

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