Irish Islamic State (IS) supporter Lisa Smith and her 2-year-old daughter may be delayed returning home as Irish officials in Turkey conduct checks to confirm their identities. Ms Smith is currently being held in a camp on the Turkish–Syrian border.
A delegation from the Department of Foreign Affairs, along with members of the Defence Forces, have travelled to Turkey to support the Irish embassy team. The Irish Examiner understands the delegation has been in discussions with Turkish authorities on conducting identity checks, particularly on Ms Smith’s daughter, Rakeya.
“The team is more focused on the daughter”, said one source. “We just can’t take at face value the girl is her daughter. That has to be confirmed.” It is not known what methods will be used to determine the identity of the girl, but DNA tests have been mentioned.
Ms Smith, who is a former member of the Irish Defence Forces, is thought to have left her home in Dundalk, Co Louth, for Syria in 2015. She is believed to have married British IS fighter Sajid Aslam, with whom she had Rakeya. Ms Smith has insisted she did not fight for IS.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said that Ireland has an obligation to protect the 2-year-old child. He told the Dáil that Ms Smith will face Garda questioning on her return to Ireland, but that his primary concern is for her child. It is thought that the pair will need to be housed in a secure location for their safety.