Sunday 21 April 2019

'I'm already in prison' - Irish Isil bride Lisa Smith 'wants to go home'

Lisa Smith holding her daughter while speaking to CNN Photo: CNN
Lisa Smith holding her daughter while speaking to CNN Photo: CNN
Lisa Smith. Picture: Tom Conachy
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

IRISH Isil bride Lisa Smith has said she expects to be stripped of her Irish passport if she returns home, but doesn't think she'll be prosecuted for moving to Syria to live with Islamic terrorists.

The former Defence Forces soldier told CNN in an interview that she "wants to go home" and said she is "living in prison".

When asked about possibly ending up in jail, Ms Smith said: "I know they'd strip me of my passport and I wouldn't travel and I'd be watched kind of, but prison? I don't know. I'm already in prison".

The 37-year-old said people "should realise that all the people here are not terrorists".

Converted: Co Louth woman Lisa Smith, who is being held in Syria on suspicion of being a member of Isil
Converted: Co Louth woman Lisa Smith, who is being held in Syria on suspicion of being a member of Isil

In a previous interview with ITV, she spoke Arabic and English and identified herself as British.

Her Irish accent was noticeably more pronounced in the interview which was broadcast by CNN yesterday.

Lisa Smith Photo: ITV News
Lisa Smith Photo: ITV News

Ms Smith was holding her two-year-old son while she spoke of wanting to leave the camp in war-torn Baghouz.

Originally from Dundalk, Co Louth, she left Ireland for Syria in 2015 and married an Isil sympathiser who later died.

Ms Smith spent a decade in the Defence Forces, serving as a soldier in the Army for five years before joining the Air Corps.

She worked as a flight attendant on the Government jet during Bertie Ahern’s time as Taoiseach.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that Ms Smith will be allowed return to Ireland as it is "the compassionate thing to do".

He assured the public that a full security assessment will take place before Lisa Smith is allowed back into the country.

Mr Varadkar said the case would have to be treated on its own merits but it is the policy of the Irish government not to revoke citizenship without good reason.

“Going to Syria or going to live in what was called Islamic State is not in itself an offence or a crime. So we will need to carry out an investigation.

“I know the authorities there will want to interrogate her to see if she has been involved in any crimes there. But it’s very possible that wasn’t a combatant. ”

Kurdish forces are believed to be holding Ms Smith in northern Syria, while Syrian authorities are expected to carry out a security assessment to see if they will seek to prosecute the Dundalk native for Isis membership.

The White House announced last week that all Islamic State-held territory in Syria has been "100pc eliminated".

US officials said the Syrian Democratic Forces are still battling the last remaining IS fighters who are holed up in tunnels along river cliffs in Baghouz and have refused to surrender.

Officials said the SDF has not announced any declaration of victory, and there was no announcement planned.

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