ISTANBUL – Relatives viewed the body of journalist Mika Yamamoto on Thursday in Istanbul after it was airlifted from a city in southern Turkey near the border with Syria.
Yamamoto, 45, was gunned down Monday in Aleppo, northern Syria.
Three relatives will bring her body back to Japan, possibly Saturday. Her common-law husband, Kazutaka Sato, 56, will accompany them.
Yamamoto’s two sisters and a nephew arrived in the Turkish port Wednesday evening.
An autopsy conducted Wednesday showed that Yamamoto suffered spinal damage and that metallic pieces, believed to be bullet fragments, were found in her body, Sato said.
Sato, who was covering the civil war in Syria together with Yamamoto, said he intends to transfer her corpse back to Japan as soon as possible so her parents can see it.
The two entered Kilis, a Turkish city near the Syrian border, on Aug. 14 and got involved in a clash between rebels and forces loyal to the Syrian government after entering Syria on Monday.
Sato said he believes it was the right decision for them to go to Aleppo with the rebel Free Syrian Army to report on the fighting, but he expressed regret over unexpected attacks in a residential area at point-blank range by soldiers loyal to the Syrian government.
Sato said Yamamoto was killed “on duty,” stressing she was committed to reporting the sufferings of ordinary citizens, especially women and children.