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Journalist killed in Syrian attack

A Japanese journalist has been killed while covering Syria's civil war.

Mika Yamamoto worked for The Japan Press, an independent TV news provider that specialises in conflict zone coverage.

She was hit by gunfire while she and a colleague were travelling with the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo.

Ms Yamamoto had covered the war in Afghanistan after 2001 and the 2003 US invasion of Iraq from Baghdad as a special correspondent for NTV, according to Japan Press' website.

In a YouTube video, Ahmed Ghazali, a rebel fighter in the northern Syrian city of Azaz, says she was killed by regime forces in Aleppo.

"We welcome any journalist who wants to enter Syria," he says. "We will secure their entry, but we are not responsible for the brutality of Assad's forces against the media."

Activists say Syria's conflict has killed more than 20,000 people since March 2011.

In an interview with a Japanese TV network from his home in Yamanashi, just north of Tokyo, Ms Yamamoto's father Koji said he respected her as a journalist who "always stood against those with power and thought of the weak."

He said he saw her as a journalist who cared about people, not as a war reporter. "Whenever she was out on a reporting trip, I prayed for her safety. That's all I could do as a parent," he said. He had also sent her an email just several days ago, with a subject "Praying for your safety."

Just few days earlier, Ms Yamamoto said she was in Kilis, a Turkish village near the border. "It's a very peaceful Turkish village," she wrote in her last message to her father.

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