Key backer of Syrian 'White Helmets' found dead in Istanbul

Key backer of Syrian 'White Helmets' found dead in Istanbul

White helmets search for victims of an airstrike on Nov 2, 2019
A member of the Syrian Civil Defence (White Helmets) takes part in a search for victims of a Russian airstrike that hit the village of Jaballa in the south of the Idlib region on Nov 2, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Abdulazez Ketaz)

ISTANBUL: The founder of an organisation that trained the Syrian "White Helmets" emergency response group has died in Istanbul, his neighbour and a diplomat said on Monday (Nov 11).

James Le Mesurier, founder of the Mayday Rescue group, was found dead early on Monday near his home in central Istanbul's Beyoglu district, the neighbour said. The diplomat said the circumstances around his death were unclear.

The White Helmets, known officially as Syria Civil Defence, have been credited with saving thousands of people in rebel-held areas during years of bombing by Syrian government and Russian forces in the country's civil war.

Mayday Rescue is a not-for-profit organisation with offices in Amsterdam and Istanbul whose projects have been funded by the United Nations and various governments. Mayday Rescue did not immediately respond to an emailed query about Le Mesurier.

Source: Reuters/ga