ISIS member Lisa Smith is being held with her child in a north Syrian safe house controlled by the Syrian National Army, formerly known as the Free Syrian Army, a rebel force comprised of Turkish and Syrian fighters now battling Kurdish militants.
The Dundalk native (38) was picked up with her child by the rebels and taken to a village close to the Syrian border with Turkey after a break-out from a Kurdish-run detention camp last weekend. They are believed to have been captured along with the British ISIS recruiter Tooba Gondal (25) and her two chilldren.
The group reportedly walked for several kilometres after fleeing their Kurdish captors in Ain Issa. While the house is not a prison, no one is permitted to leave.
Garda Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan has confirmed that the 38-year-old is under investigation for terrorist offences.
“My information is that there are extensive negotiations that have been ongoing,” he said.
“I know the complexities of the area. It’s a difficult environment and there have been efforts, certainly at diplomatic level, but we are not involved. She has said herself that she does not pose a threat, that she does not hold radical views,” he added.
“But like the others that have returned, that has to be part of an assessment.”
She is likely to be questioned by officers here if she returns to these shores.
Ms Smith, who served in the Air Corps and worked on the Government jet, moved to Isil-controlled northern Syria shortly after her conversion to Islam.
The Dundalk native has consistently insisted she no longer holds radical views and does not pose a threat.
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the latest reports when contacted by the Irish Independent last night.
In March, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Ms Smith should be allowed to return because it is the “compassionate thing”.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has previously said that her return would present “complex challenges”.
Ms Gondal’s brother, Aarib Gondal, explained that when both women arrived at the safehouse, they were given showers and food.
“We heard from her a few days ago, that was the last communication,” he said.
“She said that when they were living in the camp there were people fighting which is why she had to run. She said it was extremely violent and dangerous where they escaped from. They left the camp at 6am and didn’t arrive to a safe spot until late evening
“Her four-year-old-son walking that whole way. It really hasn’t been easy for them,” the family member said.