Friday, 13 December, 2019


British Founder of Syrian ‘White Helmets’ Aid Organization Found Dead in Istanbul

James Le Mesurier was the founder and director of the Mayday Rescue group James Le Mesurier was the founder and director of the Mayday Rescue group
Bennie Garza | 12 November, 2019, 11:42

Around 100 members of the White Helmets have been resettled in the United Kingdom, according to the Home Office, after they were evacuated from Syria in the face of advances by the regime.

Anadolu Agency said James Le Mesurier's body was found early Monday near his home in Istanbul's Beyoglu district by worshippers on their way to a mosque to pray.

Turkish authorities said they have opened an investigation into his death.

The British founder of a group that helped establish the Syrian White Helmets rescue organization has died in Istanbul, his office said on Monday. "He was a British soldier", she added.

Le Mesurier received an OBE honour (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) from the Queen in 2016 for "services to the Syria Civil Defence group and the protection of civilians in Syria".

When bombs strike residential neighborhoods outside of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's control, it is the White Helmets who respond, pulling families from the rubble and rushing casualties to the hospital.

His death follows just days after the Russian Foreign Ministry in a series of tweets on November 8 wrote that Le Mesurier had "connections to terrorist groups".

Le Mesurier told the BBC in 2014 that the White Helmets sprang out of volunteer groups established in neighbourhoods across Syria that were under regime bombardment.

DHA said Le Mesurier's body was awaiting an autopsy. The diplomat said the circumstances around his death were unclear. He was founder of the not-for-profit Mayday Rescue group which, according to its website, "builds emergency response capacity in communities at risk of conflict and natural disaster".

It is believed that Mr Le Mesurier fell from the balcony of his home office in a suspected suicide, a security source told the Reuters news agency.

A prominent supporter of the White Helmets organisation - officially known as Syria Civil Defence - was found dead in the Turkish city of Istanbul today.

"The Syrian Civil Defense family extends its deepest condolences to the James family, and we express our deepest sorrow and solidarity with his family", it posted.

"I was working in Istanbul. and got together with a group of Turkish quake rescue volunteers", he said.

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