A former Irish soldier who fled to Syria to become an ISIS bride has said she wants to return home.
Lisa Smith, 37, has lost her husband and is living in the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria with her two-year-old daughter.
She fled the terror group’s last holdout in Baghouz and is one of hundreds of women and children at the camp.
Speaking to CNN, she said not everyone at al-Hol was a ‘terrorist’ and said prison in Ireland would be no worse than her life in Syria.
Former life: Lisa Smith (circled) as an Irish soldier, accompanying then-Irish premier Bertie Ahern (left), in a picture taken at an aerodrome near Dublin in 2008
Lisa Smith, pictured left at the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria with her two-year-old daughter in recent days, and right before she fled Ireland to join ISIS, is pleading to return home and says prison in Ireland could be no worse than life at the camp
She said: ‘I think that people should just realise that all the people here are not terrorists. I want to go home.
‘I know they’d strip me of my passport stuff, and I wouldn’t travel and I’d be watched, but prisons? I don’t know. I’m already in prison.’
Smith was one of hundreds to flee Baghouz as ISIS lost its grip on its final patch of territory in eastern Syria.
Irish authorities have been drawing up plans to rescue the former soldier, originally from Dundalk, the Sunday Mirror reported.
Speaking today, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney told RTE that Irish officials were meeting this afternoon to co-ordinate a response.
Smith is one of hundreds of ISIS refugees at the camp (pictured) who have fled the terror group as the last jihadi fighters were cleared out of Baghouz
He said: ‘We want to look after Irish people and bring them home and if they want to come home.
‘Of course, there’s heightened concern because there’s a two-year-old girl involved in this as well.
‘This is an unusual case because of her background in the last number of years, but the Taoiseach and I have made it very clear – she’s an Irish citizen.
‘She’s the responsibility of Ireland, and we have a responsibility towards her and in particular her daughter, and we will try to follow through on our responsibility and find a way to bring her home.’
The Irish government had not yet been able to establish direct contact but had been speaking to her family, he said.
A source told the newspaper about the possible rescue, saying: ‘The bottom line is she is an Irish citizen with a child in a very volatile, war-torn area.
Smith is one of hundreds of women and children to have fled Baghouz, the terror group’s last holdout in Syria. The wreckage of Baghouz is pictured yesterday
‘She’s in a very vulnerable position and a decision has been made to bring her home.’
When Smith left Ireland she is reported to have travelled to Bizerte in Tunisia before joining ISIS in Syria.
She had flown around the world as a member of the Irish military, including on a trip with then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
She converted to Islam in Dundalk where she apparently began attending the local mosque and bringing much younger relatives along for the worship.
A former friend of Smith in Dundalk said Irish police had been guarding the town’s Muslim community in the wake of the Christchurch shootings.
Speaking to Extra.ie, Carol or ‘Karimah’ Duffy said she had tried to keep Smith from turning to radicalism.
Saying that Islamophobic thugs had made the link between Smith and Dundalk after the New Zealand terror attack, she said she had had ‘packets of rashers thrown at my house’.
Lisa Smith’s plea to return home comes in the wake of the UK row over teenage ISIS bride Shamima Begum (pictured) who had her British citizenship removed
Current Irish PM Leo Varadkar has previously said stripping Smith of her citizenship was not the ‘right or compassionate thing to do’.
His words came in contrast to British ministers’ refusal to allow teenage ISIS bride Shamima Begum to return home.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid revoked Begum’s passport after she said she wished to return to the UK with her newborn son, having already lost two children.
The weeks-old boy later died in a camp in northern Syria, with reports suggesting he had suffered from breathing difficulties.
Ms Begum, from Bethnal Green in east London, was 15 when she and two other schoolgirls went to join the terror group in February 2015.
Aged 19 and heavily pregnant, she resurfaced in a refugee camp last month and said she wanted to return to Britain as the self-styled caliphate collapsed.