Japanese journalist killed covering fighting in Syria

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Media captionMika Yamamoto was with her husband, a colleague, when she was shot

A Japanese journalist, Mika Yamamoto, has been killed reporting on fighting in Aleppo, Syria, Japan's foreign ministry has confirmed.

Ms Yamamoto, 45, was a war correspondent with the Tokyo-based Japan Press news agency.

She was with a colleague, who identified her body, when she was killed, a ministry spokesman said.

It is not clear when she died but reports of an Asian journalist wounded in gunfire first emerged on Monday.

Her body has been transferred to Turkey, Masaru Sato, a Japanese foreign ministry official in Tokyo, told the Associated Press.

A report by Kyodo news agency described Ms Yamamoto as an award-winning veteran journalist.

The Japan Press - an agency that produces television news content and documentaries - has not released a statement.

According to the company's website Ms Yamamoto, who joined Japan Press in 1995, had experience covering war and conflict in both Afghanistan and the Iraq.

Ms Yamamoto is one of several foreign journalists to have died in Syria since March 2011.

Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin, an American, and award-winning French photographer Remi Ochlik died in Homs in February.

The month before, in January, French television journalist Gilles Jacquier was killed in Homs while visiting the city on a government-organised trip.

The United Nations says more than 18,000 people have been killed in the conflict, 170,000 have fled Syria and 2.5 million need aid within the country.

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