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Isil bride Lisa Smith held in rebel safe house after Syria 'jail break'


Lisa Smith. Photo: Tom Conachy

Lisa Smith. Photo: Tom Conachy

Lisa Smith. Photo: Tom Conachy

Isil bride Lisa Smith is being held in a Syrian rebel safe house after escaping from a detention camp at the weekend.

Ms Smith (38), from Co Louth, and her young daughter are now in a village on the outskirts of Tel Abyad, a town on the Turkey-Syria border.

It is believed that Ms Smith and her child walked for several kilometres after fleeing the Ain Issa camp in northern Syria.

British national and Isil recruiter Tooba Gondal (25) and her two children joined the former member of the Irish Defence Forces in their escape.

The women were picked up by rebel fighters from the Syrian National Army (SNA) and are currently being held in a safe house.

One rebel source explained that while the safe house isn’t a prison, both women are not permitted to leave.

Hundreds of Isil women and their children broke out of the Ain Issa camp on Sunday after Turkish shells hit nearby and Kurdish guards retreated.

Garda Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan has confirmed that the 38-year-old is under investigation for terrorist offences.

“My information is that there are extensive negotiations that have been ongoing,” he said.

“I know the complexities of the area. It’s a difficult environment and there have been efforts, certainly at diplomatic level, but we are not involved. She has said herself that she does not pose a threat, that she does not hold radical views,” he added.

“But like the others that have returned, that has to be part of an assessment.”

She is likely to be questioned by officers here if she returns to these shores.

Ms Smith, who served in the Air Corps and worked on the Government jet, moved to Isil-controlled northern Syria shortly after her conversion to Islam.

The Dundalk native has consistently insisted she no longer holds radical views and does not pose a threat.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the latest reports when contacted by the Irish Independent last night.

In March, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Ms Smith should be allowed to return because it is the “compassionate thing”.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has previously said that her return would present “complex challenges”.

Ms Gondal’s brother, Aarib Gondal, explained that when both women arrived at the safehouse, they were given showers and food. 

“We heard from her a few days ago, that was the last communication,” he said.

“She said that when they were living in the camp there were people fighting which is why she had to run. She said it was extremely violent and dangerous where they escaped from. They left the camp at 6am and didn’t arrive to a safe spot until late evening

“Her four-year-old-son walking that whole way. It really hasn’t been easy for them,” the family member said.

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