British founder of Syria’s White Helmets identified useless in Turkey – Al Jazeera English

A former British army officer who helped located the White Helmets volunteer research-and-rescue organisation in Syria was discovered lifeless in Turkey on Monday.

The human body of James Le Mesurier, founder and CEO of Mayday Rescue group, was uncovered around his property in central Istanbul’s Beyoglu district by worshippers on their way to a mosque, the point out-operate Anadolu information agency claimed.

The Istanbul governor’s office environment claimed that “comprehensive administrative and judicial investigations into Le Mesurier’s death have been initiated”.


Nearby media reports claimed his physique was identified with fractures to his legs and head outside of his condominium. Anadolu mentioned police recognized that no one particular experienced entered or left his household around that time and imagine he fell to his death.

A stability supply explained to Reuters Information Company that Le Mesurier evidently fell from the balcony of his dwelling business office and his dying was getting handled as a suspected suicide.

The private DHA news company explained authorities had been investigating no matter if he committed suicide, including he allegedly had been on anti-depressant products.

Le Mesurier’s spouse instructed police her spouse had been taking medicine to take care of “extreme worry”, Anadolu claimed. His body was awaiting an autopsy.

‘Shock and sadness’

Le Mesurier’s Mayday Rescue group launched and properly trained the White Helmets, also identified as the Syria Civil Defence.

In a statement on Monday, Mayday called him a “fantastic chief and a visionary”. 

“James dedicated his everyday living to encouraging civilians respond to emergencies in conflicts and pure disasters. Nowhere was the impact of his essential get the job done felt so strongly as in Syria,” the intercontinental non-financial gain organisation reported. 

Le Mesurier was awarded an Buy of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth in 2016 for services to Syria Civil Defence and the protection of civilians in Syria.

The White Helmets, shaped in 2013, expressed their “shock and disappointment” on Twitter.

The Syrian Civil Defense family extends its deepest condolences to the James loved ones, and we specific our deepest sorrow and solidarity with his spouse and children. As we also have to commend his humanitarian initiatives which Syrians will often remember.

— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) November 11, 2019

The voluntary look for-and-rescue group was formed to answer to bombings by Syrian governing administration forces in opposition-managed sections of the country.

Le Mesurier explained to Al Jazeera in 2015 he began training and supporting the organisation in early 2013 along with Turkish rescue professionals, starting up with “a single team of 20 people today”.

“I was operating in Istanbul … and received together with a team of Turkish earthquake rescue volunteers,” he explained.

“It all came alongside one another with an original education class of 20 fellas from northern Aleppo, then spawned from one particular workforce to 20 groups.”

The White Helmets have been credited with preserving hundreds of individuals in rebel-held places strike by bombing by government and Russian forces in Syria’s a lot more than 8-year-previous civil war.

A documentary about the team won an Academy Award in 2017.

‘True hero’

Users of the White Helmets say they are neutral. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his backers, like Moscow, describe them as tools of Western propaganda and Islamist fighters. 

The Russian Overseas Ministry said on Twitter on Friday that the White Helmets assist “the most risky terrorist teams” and that Le Mesurier was a former British agent with reported “connections to terrorist teams”.

#Zakharova: The White Helmets’ co-founder, James Le Mesurier, is a previous agent of Britain’s MI6, who has been spotted all close to the entire world, which includes in the #Balkans and the #MiddleEast. His connections to terrorist groups have been claimed back in the course of his mission in #Kosovo.

— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) November 8, 2019

Ambassador Karen Pierce, UK’s long term consultant to the United Nations, explained Le Mesurier as a “legitimate hero” when she was questioned about his death by reporters.

“The will cause of loss of life at the moment are unclear. We will be looking quite closely to see how the investigation goes. I hope the Turkish authorities will be equipped to examine comprehensively,” she claimed.

“The Russian charges in opposition to him, that arrived out of the foreign ministry that he was a spy, (are) categorically untrue. He was a British soldier,” she additional.

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