Sunday , April 18 2021

James Le Mesurier: White Helmets backer discovered dead in Turkey – BBC News, BBC News


        

                                 James Le MesurierImage copyright                 James Le Mesurier / Twitter                                                      
Image caption                                    James Le Mesurier received an OBE for his work with White Helmet volunteers in Syria                             

A former British Army officer who was honored by the Queen for his work with the White Helmets civil defense group in Syria has been found dead near his office in Istanbul.

The body of James Le Mesurier, who received an OBE in 2016, was discovered in the early hours of Monday, White Helmet sources told the BBC.

Le Mesurier set up the Mayday Rescue emergency response group, which helped train White Helmets volunteers.

The cause of death is not known.

According to White Helmets sources, Le Mesurier’s body was found at about 04: (local time) (*************************************: 30 GMT) on the street in front of an office building used by Mayday Rescue.

Le Mesurier, who had also worked for the United Nations, was considered a founder of the White Helmets. The organization, which is also known as the Syria Civil Defense, helps rescue civilians caught up in attacks in areas of Syria controlled by the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.

                                                                                                      Image copyright                 Getty Images                                                      
Image caption                                    The White Helmets describe themselves as a volunteer workforce that acts to save people in Syria’s war zones                             

In 2016, the organization received the Right Livelihood Award in recognition for “outstanding bravery, compassion and humanitarian engagement in rescuing civilians”. Later the same year the group was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

But the Syrian government and its allies Russia and Iran have accused the White Helmets of openly aiding terrorist organizations. The Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted about Le Mesurier last week, alleging that he was a former agent of the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6.

                                                                                                                      

Le Mesurier received an OBE honor (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) from the Queen in 2016 for “services to the Syria Civil Defense group and the protection of civilians in Syria”.

            

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Media captionAfter the bombs go off in Syria, the White Helmets go in

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