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US journalist released from Syria 'overwhelmed with emotion'

A US journalist released earlier this week after almost two years of imprisonment in Syria said he was "overwhelmed with emotion" because of the attention he has received upon returning home.

Peter Theo Curtis, 45, was captured in 2012 by Nusra Front and was only released on Sunday.

He said: "I suddenly remember how good the American people are, and what kindness they have in their hearts."

Meanwhile, Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, who is suspected of fighting with Islamic State militants operating in Iraq and Syria, has been killed in the Middle East, a US security official has said.

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Factfile: Who are Iraq's Yazidi community?

The Yazidi community is among the minority groups being targeted by Islamic militants in northern Iraq.

  • Yazidis worship an angel figure, Malak Ta'us, who is considered to be the devil by some Muslims and Christians
  • This has led to the misconception that Yazidis are devil-worshippers
  • Their beliefs combine elements of other religions, including Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam
  • Predominantly ethnic Kurds, they are one of Iraq's oldest minority communities
  • Yazidis live in small communities mainly scattered through northwest Iraq, northwest Syria and southeast Turkey, with some in Georgia and Armenia
  • Their estimated population ranges from 50,000 to a million

The Yazidis have been targeted before and claim to have been subjected to 72 genocides during the Ottoman rule of the 18th and 19th centuries.

A series of truck bombs in northern Iraq killed nearly 500 villagers from the community in August 2007.

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