Irishman who fought against Islamic State with Kurdish YPG released from Iraq prison

© Joshua Molloy
An Irishman who fought against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria has been released from an Iraqi prison after being detained there for 10 days for allegedly crossing into the country illegally.

Joshua Molloy, 24, from County Laois, was detained in a prison in Erbil along with two British citizens, Jac Holmes, a former IT worker from Bournemouth, and Joe Ackerman, a former British soldier from Halifax.

The men were crossing the border from Syria into Iraq, when they were arrested by the Kurdistan regional government.

British diplomats based in Iraq had been working to secure the release of all three men, according to The Irish Times.

The Irish foreign minister confirmed Molloy’s release Sunday morning.

The Irish foreign ministry confirmed to RT that they are continuing to provide consular assistance to the Irishman, but had not determined when he would return to Ireland as “flight options are limited.”

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The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also confirmed the release of the two British citizens, according to The Guardian.

Molloy, a former British soldier, traveled to Syria in April 2015 and fought against ISIS alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). He was trying to make his way home to Ireland at the time of his arrest.

He told The Irish Mail on Sunday, who interviewed him before confirmation of his release, that he went to Syria to protect innocent people in the face of ISIS: “All those terrible things were happening to Yazidis and we weren’t doing anything about it so I decided to come and help them.”

He said he was aware of the risk entering Iraq, and had a message for other fighters considering going to Syria: “Tell them don’t go. Just don’t go.”

The young man appeared frail and exhausted, according to the Irish Mail article, and was sharing a cell with many other people.

Meanwhile his father, Declan Molloy, said he and his family were “jumping for joy” when news of his son’s release was broken to him Saturday night.

He said he spoke to his son Sunday morning via Facebook and that he was "fine", but would need some time alone after his ordeal.

His father previously insisted on Irish radio that his son was “not a mercenary”, but a “volunteer” who “sees this as a humanitarian crisis more than anything”.