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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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UN: Potential Iraq genocide 'within days or hours'

Displaced Yazidis are among those being targeted by Islamic State militants. Credit: Reuters

The situation in northern Iraq could develop into a "mass atrocity and potential genocide within days or hours", UN human rights experts have warned.

Rita Izsák, Special Rapporteur on minority issues, urged measures to escort civilians out of "situations of extreme peril" and said that it was the responsibility of the international community as well as the Iraqi government to protect people in the region.

The UN has received verified reports that 'IS' is systematically hunting down members of minority groups who remain trapped in areas under their control and giving them the ultimatum, “convert or die."

We cannot stand by in the face of such atrocities. International actors must do all in their power to support those on the ground with the capacity to protect lives.

– Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

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