Irish premier says man captured in Syria entitled to consular assistance

The Irish premier has said that a man captured in Syria by militants fighting Isis is entitled to consular assistance from the state.

Speaking from Mali on Monday, where he is visiting Irish Defence Forces, the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said: “I’ve only heard about that in the last short while.

“The information we have is that an Irish citizen has been taken into custody in Syria.

“We don’t know the details of that so I can’t comment on it in any detail but what I can say is that any Irish citizen around the world is entitled to consular assistance and will get that.”

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman said it was looking into the matter but had not received any requests for consular assistance.

It is understood the man is 45 and had lived in Dublin but left the country in 2013.

He is believed to be among five jihadists captured in Syria for fighting for Islamic State.

The US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces claimed they arrested the militants in the east of the country.

A spokesman for the group said they included two US citizens and two Pakistanis.

“The operation Jazeera Storm, carried out with the aim of liberating the last regions under the occupation of Isis, continues steadily towards clearing the last bastions of the group,” a statement said.

“Recently, in order to prevent the advance of our forces, terrorists have attempted to carry out attacks several times.

“In this context, a group of terrorists who had been preparing to attack the civilians who were trying to get out of the war zone in masses was detected.”

A spokeswoman for the Irish police service said the force was aware of the report.

“The individual may be identical to a naturalised Irish citizen who, it is understood, departed Ireland in 2013.

“An Garda Siochana is monitoring the reported development.”