Reporter dies as US puts Syria on notice

2012-08-21 07:38
Mika Yamamoto pictured in 2004. (Kyodo News/ AP)

Mika Yamamoto pictured in 2004. (Kyodo News/ AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Aleppo - US President Barack Obama warned Syria of "enormous consequences" if it resorts to chemical weapons, as a female Japanese reporter was killed while covering clashes in the northern city of Aleppo.

Obama put President Bashar Assad's regime on notice on Monday that, while he had not ordered intervention "at this point", Washington was "monitoring the situation very carefully" and had put together a range of contingency plans.

The president said the United States would regard any recourse by Damascus to its deadly arsenal as crossing a "red line".

"There would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons... That would change my calculations significantly," he told reporters at a White House briefing.

Syria's admission in July that it has chemical weapons and could use them in case of any "external aggression" added a dangerous new dimension to a 17-month conflict which the new UN peace envoy already describes as civil war.

More than 130 people were killed on Monday, including two children in shelling in Daraa, the birthplace of the revolution, a watchdog said, as the United Nations brought an end to its troubled observer mission.

3 journalists missing

In Syria's commercial capital Aleppo, nine civilians were reported killed late on Monday, including two women, a 9-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl.

The female Japanese journalist was killed after being caught in gunfire in Aleppo, the foreign ministry in Tokyo said on Tuesday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said three other journalists - a Lebanese woman, an Arab male working for a US media outlet and a Turkish national - were missing while covering the Syria uprising.

The dead reporter was 45-year-old Mika Yamamoto, said an official in charge of Japanese nationals' safety abroad. A colleague travelling with her identified the body, the official said.

Yamamoto worked for the small Japan Press news agency and had also covered the war in Afghanistan and the Iraq conflict, according to the company's website.

She had been reporting on clashes between troops and rebel fighters in Suleiman al-Halabi, a district of Aleppo, the Observatory said.

'Ending a civil war'


Yamamoto was the fourth foreign reporter killed in Syria since March 2011.

French reporter Gilles Jacquier was killed on 11 January in the central city of Homs, where American journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik both perished on 22 February.

Lakhdar Brahimi, who has replaced former UN chief Kofi Annan as the international point man for Syria, warned on Sunday that it was now a matter of ending civil war rather than avoiding it.

But Syria - which insists it is fighting an insurgency by "armed terrorist groups" backed by the West, Gulf states and Turkey - reacted angrily.

"To speak of civil war in Syria contradicts reality and is found only in the heads of conspirators," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

However, French President Francois Hollande bluntly told Brahimi at a meeting in Paris that there "cannot be a political solution without the departure of Bashar [Assad]".

Heavy fighting


The Syrian Observatory, meanwhile, reported fierce fighting across the country on Monday's second day of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday celebrated by Muslims to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The Observatory said troops backed by helicopters pounded several areas of Aleppo, including the local Baath party headquarters and a military tribunal in the northern city.

An AFP correspondent said warplanes and helicopters circled Aleppo all day, and reported heavy fighting in southwestern districts, where the regime's military operation against rebels is focused.

Aleppo has become the epicentre of the conflict since rebels seized large swathes of the city in a July offensive. Government officials have said its recapture will be the "mother of all battles".

The opposition Syrian National Council complained that government forces using combat helicopters, tanks and heavy artillery had carried out "savage" attacks on Herak, south of Damascus, warning that food and medicines were running out.

Fighting also flared in southern parts of Damascus as the army battled pockets of resistance despite claiming it retook most of the capital last month. In other parts of the country, 29 people were killed, half of them civilians.

A total of 23 000 people have now been killed since March last year, according to the Observatory, while the UN puts the death toll at around 17 000.

Read more on:    un  |  kofi annan  |  bashar assad  |  barack obama  |  lakhdar brahimi  |  syria  |  us  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings  |  media
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Who won? Let the News24 App notify you!

Not only can you stay up to date with the latest elections news, you can also get notification of results during the results phase with our easy-to-use app.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Somerset West - 15:38 PM
    Road name: N2 Outbound
    DELAYS through Somerset West (weekend holiday volumes)
  • Thursday Newlands - 15:36 PM
    Road name: M3 Outbound
    DELAYS between Woolsack Drive and Wynberg Hill
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.