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Case of Qataris Kidnapped in Iraq Close to Conclusion | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A camel in the desert of southern Iraq, a popular area for hunters from Gulf states, principally Qatar. (AFP)

Baghdad – Qatari nationals who were kidnapped in Iraq in 2015 may be released soon, a negotiator close to the file said.

He added that a Qatari delegation was currently in Baghdad to discuss the issue.

The negotiator, who wished to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday that the two Syrian and Iraqi paths represent a single file, confirming earlier reports about a swap deal of Iranian and Lebanese “Hezbollah” fighters in Syria held by armed groups, in exchange for the release of the abducted Qatari nationals.

The Qataris were kidnapped on December 16, 2015 from a desert hunting party in the province of Muthanna in Iraq.

The “Hezbollah Brigades,” which are close to Lebanon’s “Hezbollah”, were accused of being behind the abduction.

Circulated information has confirmed that members from the Qatar ruling family, in addition to Kuwaiti nationals, might be among the hostages.

The negotiator asserted that negotiations for their release have reached “certain solutions” without offering more details.

“Making public statements would hamper any operation to resolve the issue,” he said, adding that he expected an agreement to be reached in the coming 48 hours.

Another source related to the issue told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Qatari delegation currently negotiating the release of the captured Qatari nationals is present in Iraq.

“The Qatari side insisted from the start on not linking the file of the kidnapped Qataris to politics or developments in Syria,” the source said.

He added that the Qataris paid an immense sum of money for the kidnappers. “The Qatari side paid more than $1 billion,” it revealed.

The Qataris recently paid $350 million in Iraq and an equal sum in Lebanon, it stated.