The Daily Telegraph has posted the last video filmed by a Japanese journalist, Mika Yamamoto, in Aleppo, Syria. The most poignant aspect of Yamamoto’s filing is, that she had just stopped to talk with a local family with a newborn baby. The last scene before her abrupt death features Yamamoto engaging with the baby who is clearly relishing the attention.
Ms Yamamoto, a 45-year-old award-winning journalist working for the Tokyo-based independent news agency, Japan Press, was fatally wounded while travelling with the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo. She became the first Japanese national killed in the 17-month conflict.
Ms Yamamoto is shown reporting from the beseiged city with her husband and colleague Kazutaka Sato as they follow a patrol of rebel soldiers. In the final moments of the footage gunfire breaks out before the camera freezes on what is believed to be the last shot she filmed.
The Yomiuri Daily noted the significance of Yamamoto’s reporting efforts.
Yamamoto’s death highlighted the reality that urban districts, home to ordinary Syrians, have become battlefields between government forces and rebels. The United Nations estimates more than 18,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011.
In a subsequent video, Yamamoto’s husband and partner, Kazutaka Sato, narrates his sense of helplessness, that he was certain the assailants recognized her as a woman. Yamamoto stood only inches from him, he claimed. He showed her clothing with a bullet hole in it.
How this incident will affect the Japanese government’s opinion about the Syrian situation is unknown.
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