The British founder of an organisation that trained the “White Helmets” emergency response group has been found dead in Istanbul, five years after the group was set up to perform rescue work in rebel areas during the Syrian civil war.
The body of James Le Mesurier, founder of the Mayday Rescue group, was found early on Monday near his home in central Istanbuls Beyoglu district, a neighbour said. The Istanbul Governors Office said an investigation had been launched.
A security source told Reuters it was believed that Le Mesurier had fallen from the balcony of his home office and his death was being treated as suspected suicide.
The White Helmets, known officially as Syria Civil Defence, have been credited with saving thousands of people in rebel-held areas hit by bombing by government and Russian forces in Syrias more than 8-year-old civil war.
White Helmets members say they are neutral. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his backers, including Moscow, describe them as tools of Western propaganda and Islamist-led insurgents.
The Syrian Civil Defense family extends its deepest condolences to the James family, and we express our deepest sorrow and solidarity with his family. As we also must commend his humanitarian efforts which Syrians will always remember. pic.twitter.com/t8IvpIhyFV
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) November 11, 2019
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter on Friday that the White Helmets help “the most dangerous terrorist groups,” and that Le Mesurier was a former British agent with reported “connections to terrorist groups”.
Mayday Rescue, a not-for-profit organisation, began its operations in 2014 and established an office in Istanbul in 2015 to support its Syria project. Its projects have been funded by the United Nations aRead More – Source