A key trainer of the Syria-based volunteer first responders known as the White Helmets has been found dead near his home in Istanbul, according to reports.
James Le Mesurier, a former British Army officer, co-founded the Syria-focused organization Mayday Rescue, which helped train the White Helmets, in 2013.
According to a neighbor who spoke to Reuters, Le Mesurier was found dead in Beyoglu, Istanbul, early on Monday. The precise details of James Le Mesurier’s death could not be confirmed, and his office did not wish to comment further, reported AFP.
Local media reports said his body was found with fractures to his legs and head at the foot of his apartment early on Monday.
Last year, Russia was condemned by diplomats for calling the White Helmets a “threat” and demanding their removal from the war-torn country.
The White Helmets have become a favorite target of pro-Syrian and pro-Russian groups. They have accused the group of supporting terrorists in Syria and doctoring footage of atrocities committed by regime forces – claims strongly denied by its supporters.