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25 Mar, 2019 15:12

Irish soldier turned ‘ISIS bride’ says she wants to return home

Irish soldier turned ‘ISIS bride’ says she wants to return home

An Irish woman accused of being a member of ISIS says she wants to return home. Lisa Smith is a former Army soldier and Air Corps corporal who went to Syria five years ago and is currently detained in a refugee camp.

“I want to go home. I think the people here should realise all the people here are not terrorists,” Smith told a CNN reporter at the Al-Houl refugee camp controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces in northeast Syria.


Smith was asked whether she would be ready to go to jail in Ireland, and 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.”

Smith has a two-year-old girl. She reportedly approached a CNN producer and told them she was “quite famous back home,” Irish state broadcaster RTÉ reports.

Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar has said more information is needed about her case, but that removing her Irish citizenship is not compassionate or right. “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,” he said. “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 she wasn’t a combatant.”

It is unclear at this stage whether the former Irish Army soldier and Air Corps corporal fought for the terrorist group. She reportedly converted to Islam nearly eight years ago and later moved to Tunisia, living in Bizerte, a town popular with IS members, before travelling to Syria and marrying an British IS member who has since died.

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“This is an unusual case because of her background in the last number of years,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Monday. “But the Taoiseach and I have made it very clear she is an Irish citizen and she is the responsibility of Ireland and we are very conscious of that. We have a responsibility towards her and, in particular, her daughter.”

Smith was interviewed by ITV after leaving Baghouz, and said she moved to the caliphate because of the propaganda about there being a “clean life” for Muslims there. When asked whether she thought ISIS was over, she responded in Arabic, “Not over yet. Not over yet.”

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