Republic of Ireland news

Lisa Smith expected to be deported back to Republic within weeks

Lisa Smith travelled to Syria three years ago to join Islamic State

AN Irish woman who travelled to Syria three years ago to join Islamic State is expected to be deported back to the Republic within the next few weeks.

Reuters and AFP news agencies quoted a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry as saying two Irish people are to be deported along with more than 20 other Europeans.

It is understood the two Irish people are Lisa Smith, from Dundalk, Co Louth, and her two-year-old daughter.

The Republic's Department of Foreign Affairs is finalising identity papers and travel documents for the mother and child, who are both Irish citizens.

A small number of members of the Defence Forces are in Turkey to help with Ms Smith's possible repatriation.

The 38-year-old former member of the Defence Forces is being investigated in the Republic.

Gardaí said she is "a person of interest" and will be questioned about suspected terrorist offences abroad when she returns to the Republic.

It is an offence under the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005 to engage in terrorist activity in or outside the State.

Turkey has already deported three foreign jihadists while more than 20 Europeans, including French and Germans, are in the process of being expelled.

Turkey has criticised western countries for refusing to repatriate their citizens who left to join IS in Syria and Iraq. It also hit out at countries who had stripped some former IS members of their citizenship.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said last week that Turkey had nearly 1,200 foreign members of IS in custody, and had captured 287 during its recent operation in northern Syria.

It was not clear whether those being deported were captured in Syria or Turkey.

"There is no need to try to escape from it, we will send them back to you. Deal with them how you want," Mr Soylu said on Friday.

Turkey has put more pressure on European countries to take responsibility for citizens who became jihadists.

"Turkey is not a hotel for Daesh members," Mr Soylu said last week, using another acronym for IS.

It is not clear whether Turkey will be able to repatriate those who have lost their citizenship.

Although the 1961 New York Convention made it illegal to leave people stateless, several countries including Britain and France have not ratified it.

Britain has stripped more than 100 people of their citizenship for allegedly joining jihadist groups abroad.

These include Shamima Begum, now 20, who left London as a 15-year-old and lived under the rule of the Islamic State group for three years.

She is now living in a Syrian refugee camp.

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