(Reuters) – Qatar is working to help free four Americans held hostage in Syria by various armed groups, a Gulf source familiar with the matter said on Monday, a day after the Gulf Arab state’s diplomacy helped free a journalist held since 2012.
The source declined to name the four or provide details, and Reuters could not independently verify the assertion, but his account was broadly supported by other sources.
The reported initiative by Qatar coincides with an effort by the tiny state to rebut accusations by some of its Arab neighbors and Western politicians that it supports the most anti-Western militant armed groups in Iraq and Syria. Those allegations followed months of criticism by human rights groups over its treatment of Asian guest workers and charges – denied by Doha – of corruption in its successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
The wealthy country, which does back some rebel factions fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has mediated the release of foreign and Syrian captives on several occasions in the course of Syria’s three-year-old civil war…
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One can imagine it: sponsor Qatar talks tough with ISIS. No more beheadings or we shut off the money tap.
One can also only hope Qatar still has any influence on ISIS after all the oil fields it has already seized.