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Japanese journalist killed in Syria

(AP) TOKYO - A Japanese journalist has been killed in Syria while covering the civil war there, Japan's government said Tuesday.

Mika Yamamoto, a veteran war correspondent with the Japan Press, an independent TV news provider that specializes in conflict zone coverage, was killed in Syria while reporting, said Masaru Sato, a spokesman with the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo.

Yamamoto was with a colleague from Tokyo-based Japan Press when she was killed, Sato said. It wasn't clear when or where she died.

Her body has been transferred to Turkey, where Japanese consular officials were providing assistance, Sato said.

Yamamoto had reported from Afghanistan on the war there after 2001, and covered the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq from Baghdad as a special correspondent for NTV, according to Japan Press' website. She was born in 1967, it said.

A video posted on YouTube on Monday by an activist in Syria shows the dead body of an Asian woman inside a van wrapped in blankets with only her face showing.

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An Associated Press reporter who had worked with Yamamoto and who viewed the video confirmed her identity.

In the video, Capt. Ahmed Ghazali, a rebel fighter in the northern Syrian city of Azaz, says the woman was killed in the northwestern city of Aleppo.

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

Expressing frustration that the international community has not intervened in the Syria conflict, which activists say has killed more than 20,000 people since March 2011, Ghazali says he hopes the journalist's death will encourage international action.

"I hope that these countries that have not been moved by Syrian blood will be moved by the blood of their people," he says.