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Irish IS bride living in Syrian camp begs to bring child home

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Lisa Smith left Ireland for Syria and married an Islamic State fighter

Lisa Smith left Ireland for Syria and married an Islamic State fighter

Lisa Smith left Ireland for Syria and married an Islamic State fighter

Stranded Irish Islamic State bride Lisa Smith has a daughter aged two called Ruqayya, which means "rise" or "chant", it has emerged.

The Herald has also established further details about the 37-year-old Dundalk woman's situation in Syria.

Aid workers in the Middle East have been directed to help secure her release from a camp where she lives in a tent with other war widows.

Ms Smith is trapped in north-eastern Syria where around 1,000 foreign fighters are being detained.

She is in a wing reserved for foreigners, and it is believed a significant number of other European women are also in the camp.

It was thought she had a son, but it is now known her child is a girl.

A source in the region who has met Ms Smith said she is aware her case has created publicity in Ireland but does not know the nature of the debate.

The women in the camp, many of whom want to return to their native countries, are unaware of how they are being discussed in the west.

"They're cut off from the world in there. There's no access to news," the source said.

"Lisa wants to go back home. It's now all about her little girl."

The Department of Foreign Affairs has decided not to send officials to the region as is normal when Irish citizens find themselves in trouble abroad.

It has been decided at a high level that Syria is too volatile for diplomats.

However, efforts are being made behind the scenes to get help from aid workers there.

Discussions are continuing between Irish officials and a number of Middle Eastern governments.

Diplomats have been trying to confirm that Ms Smith wants to return to Ireland.

The Government has not had direct contact with her, but is now increasing efforts to repatriate her on the grounds of an interview with her aired on CNN in recent days.

The former Army officer told correspondent Jomana Karadsheh Scott that she "wants to go home" and is "living in a prison".

Ms Smith, who once worked on the government jet, left Ireland in 2015 and married an IS sympathiser who was killed in recent months.

It is unclear how she would be treated by the State if she returns home.

Trouble

However, her child will be automatically entitled to a passport and state support.

Travelling to Syria is not an offence, but the Department of Justice will have to establish what activities Ms Smith may have been involved with while abroad.

Tanaiste Simon Coveney said yesterday the Government owed "a duty of care" to any Irish citizen in trouble.

However, he warned that securing the return of the former Air Corps recruit was "very complex" with her in a camp in an effective war zone controlled by Kurdish forces.

"We want to look after Irish people and bring them home if they want to come home," he added.

"There's heightened concern because there's a two-year-old girl involved."


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