A Qatari security expert says the governments of Qatar and Japan cooperated closely to secure the release of Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda from rebel forces in Syria.
Qatar and Turkey have influence on anti-government forces in Syria. The 2 nations reportedly played an important role in realizing the release of Yasuda, who had been held captive for more than 3 years.
The Qatari expert on counterterrorism, Jabir Al-Harami, held an interview with NHK in Doha.
Harami said negotiations with the captors took place at the request of the Japanese government and that the talks were held in secret to avoid possible failure.
Harami indicated that the Qatari side may have paid a ransom to the rebel forces. He said ransom payments are no problem if they help save people's lives.
And he referred to the establishment this month of a demilitarized zone in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, where Yasuda was being held.
Russia and Turkey had agreed to set up the zone to avoid a full offensive by government troops against rebel forces in Idlib. Russia backs the Syrian government while Turkey supports rebel groups.
Harami said Turkey seized on the opportunity and increased its appeals to various rebel groups, leading to the release of Yasuda.