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Sources have confirmed to that plans are in place to bring Smith home from the war zone. Getty

Tánaiste hopeful for breakthrough in Lisa Smith case 'within a few weeks'

Simon Coveney has said his primary concern is for Smith’s two-year-old daughter.

THERE WILL BE no major breakthrough in the Lisa Smith case in the coming days, according to Tánaiste Simon Coveney. 

However, Coveney said today he’s hopeful progress with the case can be reached “within a few weeks”. 

It was reported over the weekend that Defence Forces have started an operation to bring Smith and her child back from the Middle East. 

Members of the force were dispatched to the border area between Syria and Turkey in recent days.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is believed to have issued Smith and her child with emergency documents so they can travel home, according to reports in the Sunday World.  

Sources confirmed to that plans are in place to bring Smith home from the war zone. 

However, Coveney said today:

I would like to say though that we are not likely to see a major breakthrough in the coming days, but I am hopeful that within a few weeks we will be able to make progress on this case.

Coveney said his primary concern is for Smith’s daughter, who he said is an Irish citizen. 

“It is not helpful to speculate in relation to this case, this is a sensitive and complex case, it has been for a number of months now.

As people will know Lisa Smith has a two-year-old daughter, she is an Irish citizen, she is my primary concern in all of this. We are treating this as a consular case, and with all consular cases, regardless of the circumstances or complexity, they need to be treated confidentially and with sensitively.

“This is a case that is extremely complicated, we are working on it. We have assistance from Defence Force personnel, with our team in the embassy in Turkey and they are working with the Turkish authorities to try and make progress on this case, but I don’t think it is helpful to speculate on the back of rumour which has been happening in recent days,” he added.

Coveney has said a decision has been made to bring Smith and her daughter home “if we can and we are working on that, but it is not helpful to give details as to what’s happening, in terms of running commentary”. 

Smith, a 38-year-old Dundalk woman, was captured by Kurdish forces in northeast Syria and was being held with her two-year old daughter in the Al-Hawl displacement camp for the wives and children of Islamic State (IS) fighters.

Smith left Ireland in late 2013 and went to Tunisia where she met and married a Muslim man from Britain. It is reported that she became radicalised and by 2015 had travelled to Syria.

Gardaí have been tasked with generating a risk assessment report on Smith and are in the process of gathering information from those who served with her and who were her commanders at the time. 

Smith has repeatedly claimed that she never once held a firearm or instructed ISIS fighters on how to assemble, maintain or fire weapons. This is something which gardaí are investigating. 

With reporting by Garreth MacNamee

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