Qatar reportedly working to free more U.S. hostages

BY newsdesk  August 26, 2014 at 9:20 AM EDT
File photo of the Museum of Islamic Art in the Qatari capital Doha taken on June 25, 2014. Photo by Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

File photo of the Museum of Islamic Art in the Qatari capital Doha taken on June 25, 2014. Photo by Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

Several news outlets reported Tuesday that the wealthy nation of Qatar is working to release more Americans held captive in Syria.

On Sunday, the Gulf nation was involved in the release of American Peter Theo Curtis, who had been held for almost two years by the al-Qaida affiliated group al-Nusra Front.

Afterward, a Gulf source told Reuters, “Four other Americans who have gone missing in Syria have now been located, and Qatar is working to free them.” The source spoke on condition of anonymity.

The hostages were being held by “various groups,” the source said, without providing details.

Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution said on NPR’s “All Things Considered” that Qatar, which gains its wealth from liquefied natural gas, is trying to show its effectiveness by acting as a go-between in the release of the prisoners.

“Qatar has been in a very difficult position in the past few months,” Hamid said. “They’ve lost key regional allies, including Egypt. So Qatar, I think, is under pressure to show its usefulness. It wants to still matter on the regional stage.”

Listen to more of his interview here.