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Saturday 17 February 2018

Fears grow for safety of mum reunited with 'stolen' daughter

Louise Monaghan: family
fears for her safety
Louise Monaghan: family fears for her safety

Allison Bray

AN Irish mother has been reunited with the daughter who was taken to Syria by her estranged husband -- but faces a struggle to get her out of the war-torn country.

Fears were growing last night for the safety of Louise Monaghan (36), who travelled to Syria after her estranged husband abducted May Assad Monaghan (6) last week.

Ms Monaghan, from Swords, Co Dublin, flew to Syria from her home in Limassol in Cyprus on Monday night in order to be reunited with her daughter.

Last week the little girl was snatched by Ms Monaghan's estranged husband Mostafa Assad, and taken to his hometown of Idlib. Ms Monaghan met Mostafa at the Turkish border and has since been reunited with her daughter at his family's home.

A father enjoys automatic custody rights over his children under Syrian law.

Last night, Ms Monaghan's sister, Mandy, said she now feared for her sister and little niece.

She believes the kidnapping stunt is an attempt to force a reunion between the couple, who divorced last year.

Police in Cyprus launched a manhunt for Mr Assad on suspicion of kidnapping when the little girl failed to return home after he had taken her for a day out.

But once he crossed the border into Syria from Turkey, he was protected under Syrian law.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Mandy Monaghan said her family was growing increasingly worried over Louise and May's safety.

"She's so distressed. She said she wants to get out of there but doesn't know what way to turn," she said.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said it was "providing every assistance" to the family.

Irish Independent

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