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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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Kurdish forces 'take back two towns' in northern Iraq

Kurdish forces, supported by U.S. air strikes, took back two towns in northern Iraq from Islamic State militants but it will take time to turn the tide of the conflict, a senior Kurdish official said.

Kurdish Peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants. Credit: Reuters

Hoshiyar Zebari said the Kurds had recaptured the towns of Guwair and Makhmur. Asked how long the United States would have to continue airstrikes to help the Kurds defeat the Islamic State, Zebari said: "As President Obama said, there is no time limit."

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday that it would take some time to tackle Islamic State fighters whose latest push through northern Iraq has rattled the Baghdad government and its Western allies.

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