James Le Mesurier led the Mayday Rescue non-profit organization, which coordinates donations for Syrian white helmets.
James Le Mesurier, director of the main organization that supports white helmets, civil defense workers operating in rebel areas in Syria, was found dead on Monday, November 11 in Istanbul, near his home in the Beyoglu district. .
The exact causes of the death of James Le Mesurier, of British nationality, were not known immediately and his office refused to comment. The Istanbul governor's office confirmed his death and announced the opening of an investigation. The former British Army officer headed the Mayday Rescue non-profit organization, which coordinates donations for Syrian white helmets and has offices in Istanbul and the Netherlands. Mayday Rescue began operations in 2014 in support of Syrian Civil Security and opened an office in 2015 in Istanbul.
According to press reports, he was found dead, with fractures to both legs and head, early Monday at the foot of the building in which his apartment is located. Quoting his wife, Turkish police sources claimed that Mr. Le Mesurier "Recently started taking antidepressants and sleeping pills because he was in a state of stress".
Mis en cause by Moscow
On their Twitter account, the white helmets expressed their "Shock and sadness" after the death of James Le Mesurier, claiming that "His humanitarian efforts with Syrians will remain in our memory".
The white helmets, first-aid volunteers known to intervene in the bombed out locations to extract the survivors, are accused by the Syrian regime and its Russian ally of supporting the rebels of the areas in which they intervene.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has thus affirmed the November 8th on his Twitter account that Le Mesurier was «A former MI6 agent [the UK External Intelligence Service] " and had "Connections with terrorist groups". Karen Pierce, UK ambassador to the United Nations, denied: "The accusations against him by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [Russian] according to which he was a spy are totally false ", reports the BBC.
A film about white helmets won the Oscar for best documentary short film in 2017.