Key backer of Syrian ‘White Helmets’ discovered lifeless in Istanbul

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ISTANBUL (Information) – The British founding father of an organisation that educated the “White Helmets” emergency response group has been discovered lifeless in Istanbul, 5 years after the group was set as much as carry out rescue work in insurgent areas in the course of the Syrian civil battle.

The physique of James Le Mesurier, founding father of the Mayday Rescue group, was discovered early on Monday close to his dwelling in central Istanbul’s Beyoglu district, a neighbour stated. The Istanbul Governor’s Workplace stated an investigation had been launched.

A safety supply informed Information it was believed that Le Mesurier had fallen from the balcony of his dwelling workplace and his loss of life was being handled as suspected suicide.

The White Helmets, identified formally as Syria Civil Defence, have been credited with saving hundreds of individuals in rebel-held areas hit by bombing by authorities and Russian forces in Syria’s greater than eight-year-old civil battle.

White Helmets members say they’re impartial. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his backers, together with Moscow, describe them as instruments of Western propaganda and Islamist-led insurgents.

The Russian International Ministry stated on Twitter on Friday that the White Helmets assist “essentially the most harmful terrorist teams,” and that Le Mesurier was a former British agent with reported “connections to terrorist teams.”

Mayday Rescue, a not-for-profit organisation, started its operations in 2014 and established an workplace in Istanbul in 2015 to help its Syria mission. Its tasks have been funded by the United Nations and numerous governments, its web site stated.

A former British military officer, Le Mesurier was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth in 2016 for providers to Syria Civil Defence and the safety of civilians in Syria.

The safety supply stated Le Mesurier’s spouse informed police that she and her husband had taken sleeping capsules round four a.m. and went to mattress. She stated she was later woken by knocking on the door and found that her husband was mendacity on the road surrounded by police, the supply added.

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A diplomat informed Information the circumstances across the loss of life have been unclear.

Mayday Rescue didn’t instantly reply to an emailed question.

Syria Civil Defence on Twitter expressed “our deepest sorrow and solidarity” with Le Mesurier’s household. “We additionally should commend his humanitarian efforts which Syrians will at all times bear in mind,” it stated.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Writing by Daren Butler; Enhancing by Jonathan Spicer and Timothy Heritage