Saturday 23 March 2019

Former female member of Irish Defence Forces detained in Syria over suspected ISIS involvement

The woman who has an Irish passport left the Defence Forces a number of years ago
The woman who has an Irish passport left the Defence Forces a number of years ago
Irish passport (Brian Lawless/PA)

Philip Ryan, Kevin Doyle and Kathy Armstrong

A former female member of the Irish Defence Forces has been detained in Syria over alleged membership of ISIS.

It is understood the government has been made aware of the incident and are continuing to investigate the matter.

The woman - who has an Irish passport - left the Defence Forces a number of years ago.

It has emerged she has now been detained in recent days in Northern Syria.

It is also understood she has an infant child.

Sources told Independent.ie the woman wants to return to Ireland.

It comes just a fortnight after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Ireland would take back extremists or sympathisers who have travelled to war-torn regions.

He said this country shouldn’t expect our citizens “to be somebody else’s problem”.

The Taoiseach said he would be “very loath to revoke anyone’s citizenship provided they are a citizen by right or acquired their citizenship appropriately”.

“I think it’s bad practice to revoke somebody’s citizenship and render them stateless and leave them to be somebody’s else’s problem,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs told Independent.ie they are aware of reports of an Irish citizen detained in northern Syria.

“Appropriate consular assistance is provided to all Irish citizens where it is possible to do so, however we do not comment on individual cases,” he said.

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