News Irish News

Monday 20 November 2017

Tug of love mother refuses to reveal how she got her daughter out of Syria

Louise Monaghan and her
daughter May Assad
Louise Monaghan and her daughter May Assad Monaghan reporters and Edel O'Connell

A MOTHER'S nightmare is over after she and her daughter, who had been abducted and taken to strife-torn Syria by her ex-husband, returned to Ireland at the weekend.

Louise Monaghan (36) and her six-year-old daughter May Assad Monaghan flew into Dublin on Saturday night after being reunited in Syria earlier in the week.

Speaking on Newstalk's Breakfast Show this morning, Louise's overjoyed sister Mandy Monaghan said Louise and May would now be staying permanently in Ireland but she refused to discuss how Louise managed to get her daughter out of Syria.

"It was deemed impossible but Louise did it. It was an absolute miracle they got across [from Syria]."

She said that May was in great form and would be starting school in Dublin as soon as possible.

Mandy also thanked all those who helped her sister and her family to get little May back on Irish soil.

"We are so happy and grateful to people for their support. So many people helped us to be a family again and we would like to thank them all," she said. "We will never be apart again from this moment on, nothing will tear us apart again."

May was born in Cyprus where her parents met and where Louise, originally from Swords in Co Dublin, had been living for more than nine years. Her parents later split up.

She disappeared after going for a walk with her father Mostafa Assad in Limassol -- where she lived with her mother -- on Wednesday, September 7.

Mr Assad managed to get his daughter out of the country using a passport which he had previously taken, and which was cancelled.

It is understood Mr Assad then contacted his ex-wife and told her she would never see their child again unless she sold her belongings in Cyprus and moved to Syria to live the life of a Muslim woman.


Police in Cyprus launched a manhunt for Mr Assad on suspicion of kidnapping when the little girl failed to return home.

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

The middle-eastern country has not signed the Hague Convention, which forces child abductors to be taken back to the nation they fled.

Ms Monaghan flew to Syria from her home in Limassol in Cyprus last Monday night alone in order to be reunited with her daughter. She met her ex-husband, whom she divorced last November, at the Turkish border and was reunited with May at his family's home.

Violent protests have been taking place in Syria since January after part of the population started demanding greater political freedom.

The stand-off has led to more than 2,200 deaths over the past nine months.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News