Japanese Journalist Killed in Syrian Violence

Posted August 21st, 2012 at 4:00 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Japan's Foreign Ministry says a Japanese journalist has died in Syria after being caught in gunfire while traveling with the rebel Free Syrian Army.

The ministry said Tuesday that 45-year-old Mika Yamamoto was shot in the northern city of Aleppo. She worked for the Tokyo-based Japan Press, where she previously covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fighting continues across Syria, where opposition activists say the violence killed at least 140 people Monday. The Local Coordination Committees says more deadly violence hit Damascus, Homs and Daraa on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama has warned that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government were to use chemical weapons in its fight against rebel forces, it could significantly affect how the United States responds to the conflict.

Mr. Obama told reporters at the White House Monday that any Syrian move to use those weapons would be a “red line” that would change the scope of the situation.

The president noted that he has not at this point ordered any U.S. military engagement in Syria, but he added that the United States is monitoring the situation very carefully.

Government and opposition claims in Syria are difficult to verify because journalists do not have a freedom of movement.