Foreign Journalist Killed, Two Others Missing in Syria

Posted August 21st, 2012 at 11:55 am (UTC-5)
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A Japanese journalist who was traveling with Syrian rebels has died after being caught in gunfire, while two Alhurra TV journalists who may have been with her are missing.

Japan's Foreign Ministry says Mika Yamamoto was shot Monday while traveling with the Free Syrian Army in the northern city of Aleppo. She worked for the Tokyo-based Japan Press.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government funded Alhurra television station says two of its journalists reporting in Aleppo may have been seized Monday by Syrian forces.

In a statement, the station's parent organization – which also oversees Voice of America – urged the Syrian government to ensure the safety of the two journalists, correspondent Bashar Fahmi and his cameraman Cuneyt Unal.

In an interview Tuesday with VOA , Reporters Without Borders spokeswoman Soazig Dollet said five foreign journalists have been killed since the start of Syrian uprising.

“Syria is now the most dangerous place for war reporter in the world.”

Intense fighting continues across Syria in regions including Aleppo and Damascus, where President Bashar al-Assad's forces launched raids to oust rebels from their positions.

Activists say Syrian troops stormed a neighborhood near the capital, on Tuesday, and torched shops and homes. Opposition activists say more than 20 people were killed in violence across the country.

Meanwhile, Syrian deputy prime minister Qadri Jamil has dismissed a warning from U.S. President Barack Obama that a move by the Syrian government to use chemical weapons against rebels would be a “red line” that would change the scope of the situation.

After a meeting with officials in Moscow, Mr. Jamil said Mr. Obama's “threats” were propaganda linked to his re-election bid.

Mr. Obama made the comment Monday to reporters at the White House.