Dundalk woman detained in Syria says she wants to come home
The Dundalk woman suspected of being associated with the Islamic State in Syria has said she wants to come home.
Lisa Smith left Ireland for Syria in 2015 after stepping down from the Air Corps.
The 37-year-old was detained earlier this month on suspicion of association with Isis. She told CNN at a Syrian Democratic Forces-controlled refugee camp this morning that she is not a terrorist and wants to return to Ireland.
“I want to go home,” she said.
“I think the people here should realise all the people here are not terrorists.”
Asked was she ready that she might end up in jail if she went home, she said: “I know they’d strip me of my passport and stuff and I wouldn’t travel and I’d be watched kinda. But prison, I don’t know. I’m already in prison.”
It is understood she is in the camp along with her two-year-old daughter and hundreds of other wives and children of Islamic State (Isis) fighters.
Earlier this month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said removing her Irish citizenship is not the right or compassionate thing to do.
Mr Varadkar said more information is needed on her case.
“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.
“We really need to get to the bottom of the facts here. Carry out a security assessment to see if the Syrian authorities want to carry out a prosecution or not.
“But ultimately this is an Irish citizen and we don’t believe that removing an Irish citizen’s citizenship from her or her family, rendering them stateless, would be either the right or compassionate thing to do.
“As an Irish citizen, she will have the right to return to Ireland as will her child. But as an Irish citizen, it’s not just as simple as coming here and proceeding as if nothing had happened. There will need to be an interrogation by the authorities there. There may need to be a prosecution there. And we’ll make sure that if she returns to Ireland, she isn’t a threat to anybody here either.”
Watch the CNN piece below…
“Even if they put me in prison at home, it’s better than being here,” a Canadian citizen tells @JomanaCNN who gets rare access to #SDF-controlled camps where more than 1,000 foreign #ISIS fighters are stranded as their home countries seem reluctant to take them back. #Syria pic.twitter.com/FKxCXzUDp3
— Connect the World (@CNNConnect) March 24, 2019