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White Helmets Co-Founder Found Dead in Turkey: James Le Mesurier Biography, Wiki, Age, Family, Net Worth, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Fast Facts You Need to Know

James Le Mesurier Biography, Wiki

James Gustaf Edward Le Mesurier OBE died on 11th November 2019. He set up the volunteer-led group that enters bombed areas in opposition-held parts of the country to help civilians, died outside his home at dawn after suffering fractures to his head and legs in the Beyoglu district of Turkey’s largest city.

James Le Mesurier Age

He was 48 years old.

James Le Mesurier Father, Family

Le Mesurier was born in Singapore to Benjamin Havilland Churchill Le Mesurier. He had an elder sister, Rebecca, and two children.

James Le Mesurier British Army

Le Mesurier was for a time a British Army Officer; he worked with the United Nations peacekeeping force in the former Yugoslavia.

James Le Mesurier White Helmets

Le Mesurier, who was also an officer of the British army and established Mayday Rescue that helped train the White Helmets in 2013, was honored by the Queen with an OBE in 2016.

The organization, also known as Syrian Civil Defense, helps rescue civilians caught in attacks in areas of Syria controlled by opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.

The Civil Defense of Syria was founded in 2013 and, in 2015, had more than 2,700 volunteers. Le Mesurier told Al-Jazeera that by 2015 they had saved more than 24,000 people. “At that time, I was working in Istanbul … and I met with a group of earthquake rescue volunteers from Turkey,” Le Mesurier told Al-Jazeera. Le Mesurier worked with Syrian activists to help found the White Helmets.

In 2016, the organization received the Right Livelihood Award in recognition of “outstanding courage, compassion and humanitarian commitment in the rescue of civilians.” Later that same year, the group was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The White Helmets received funds from Western governments for their work, as well as raising money through crowdfunding sites such as Indiegogo. The Syrian government and its allies, Russia and Iran, have accused the White Helmets of openly helping terrorist organizations.

On November 8, the Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted about Le Mesurier, claiming that he was a former agent of the United Kingdom Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6.

In 2018, The Guardian reported that the United Kingdom had agreed to give asylum to 500 White Helmets volunteers who had been evacuated to Jordan. The UK government justified the decision by stating that “The White Helmets have saved more than 115,000 lives during the Syrian conflict.”

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

White Helmets Quick Overviews

  • Started in 2014 as a volunteer workforce, run by donations
  • Known for their distinctive white headwear
  • Include former bakers, tailors, carpenters and other professions
  • The group says it has saved more than 100,000 people
  • It says 252 members have been killed and more than 500 injured
  • Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016
  • Say they are neutral, have no political affiliation and save people from all sides of conflict
  • Also do repair works, reconnect electrical cables and secure the buildings
  • Seen as a terrorist group by Syria’s government

James Le Mesurier Wife

Le Mesurier was married and had two children. Following his death, his wife told police that he had been taking medicine to treat ‘intense stress’ and that they had moved to the area so that he could be near the health centre

Raed Saleh, the lead organizer of the White Helmets in a statement mentioned Le Mesurier’s wife saying: “James was a real friend, and it’s a big loss,”  Saleh said. He said that  Le Mesurier’s wife had told the organization about his death.

After going to bed, she said she was woken by a doorbell and saw her husband’s body from the open window of their third floor apartment.

Their home is only accessible by fingerprint identification, reports Middle East Eye, and only Mr Le Mesurier and his wife were in at the time according to Turkish police.

They have also established that no one had entered or left his home at the time of his death, Anadolu reported.

James Le Mesurier Death & Cause

Mr Le Mesurier’s body was found at about 04:30 local time (01:30 GMT) on the street near his home and office in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district on the European side of the city.

Reports in Turkish media say his body was discovered with fractures to his legs.

The Istanbul governor’s office later said a “comprehensive” investigation had been launched.

A security source has told Reuters that his death is being treated as a suspected suicide. But mystery still surrounds his death, with suspicions raised that it may have been ordered by a state actor.

BBC journalist Mark Urban reported that there was a ‘good level’ of suspicion that his death may be ‘murder by a state actor’ – but he added that others had suggested he may have taken his own life.

James Le Mesurier Murder Investigations

The Istanbul governor’s office has launched a ‘comprehensive administrative and judicial investigation’ into Mr Le Mesurier’s death, as his body waits for an autopsy.

Amnesty International UK’s Syrian Campaign Manager has called for a ‘proper investigation’ into the tragic circumstances of the campaigner’s death.

James Le Mesurier Tributes

The White Helmets expressed their ‘deepest condolences and ‘sorrow’ to his family, as well as their ‘solidarity’ in a post on Twitter this morning.

‘We have learned with shock and sadness the news of the death of James Le Mesurier, founder and director of the humanitarian organization Mayday Rescue, early on Monday at his home in Tophane in Istanbul, Turkey’, they said on Twitter.

‘The Syrian Civil Defense family extends its deepest condolences to the James family, and we express our deepest sorrow and solidarity with his family.

‘As we also must commend his humanitarian efforts which Syrians will always remember.’

Fast Facts You Need to Know

  • James Le Mesurier OBE was a former army officer who founded Mayday Rescue
  • Good Samaritan was found dead outside his flat in Beyoglu district, Istanbul 
  • He had been taking medicine to treat ‘intense stress’ at the time, his wife said
  • But, suspicions have also been raised that he was murdered ‘by a state actor’ 

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