Japanese Journalist Killed In Syria
Mika Yamamoto, who worked for the Tokyo-based Japan Press, is the first Japanese national killed in the 17-month-old conflict, reported Reuters. She was wounded while traveling with the Free Syrian Army, with a fellow Press reporter claiming it appeared she was shot by government forces.
Yamamoto's father confirmed the news and said she was shot in the neck. Two videos emerged of Yamamoto after she was shot, the first taken inside a van and the other shot at a field hospital.
In another video, apparently taken at a field hospital, her Japanese colleague Kazutaka Sato wept as he looked into her blood-smeared face, then gently pressed his cheek against hers.
"Why? You are wearing a flak jacket," he said, speaking to her lifeless body. "That must hurt. Did you suffer? Were you shot in the head?" he asked, sobbing. Then he saw her arm with gunshot wounds, apparently suffered as she covered her head. "Oh, that hurt, didn't it?"
Yamamoto was an award-winning journalist who covered conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her work in Baghdad earned her the Vaughn-Ueda prize, the Japanese equivalent to the Pulitzer.
A Syrian activist group reported two other journalists disappeared in Aleppo, with Virginia-based media outlet Al-Hurra confirming that the news referred to correspondent Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cuneyt Unal. A statement from Al-Hurra said they are working to gather more information about the pair's whereabouts.
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