ISTANBUL – The founder of the White Helmets organization is found dead in Istanbul, media says.
James Le Mesurier, founder of the Mayday Rescue group, was found dead early on Monday near his home in central Istanbul’s Beyoglu district, his neighbour and a diplomat said on Monday.
The diplomat said the circumstances around his death were unclear.
Le Mesurier, the former MI6 officer, created the controversial ‘Urban Search and Rescue’ organization in 2014. The White Helmets have been repeatedly accused of staging fake attacks in the Syria in a bid to prompt a Western-backed military intervention in the wartorn country.
The White Helmets organization has confirmed to Israeli public broadcaster KAN that the group’s founder James Le Mesurier was found dead in his home in Istanbul, Turkey.
The White Helmets, known officially as Syria Civil Defence, have been credited by Western colonial media and the political establishments with saving thousands of people in jihadist-held areas, but have often been caught being completely affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 11, 2019
It is not known how he died, but colleagues reported he may have fallen from the balcony of his apartment in the Turkish city.
Maria Zakharova, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, mentioned Mr Le Mesurier on Friday accusing him of being a “former agent of Britain’s MI6, who has been spotted all around the world”.
In the comments, which were shared on Twitter by the Russian foreign ministry’s account, she accused him of working as a spy in the Balkans, and the Middle East.
Police are said to be investigating the incident, with the circumstances of Le Mesurier’s death remaining unclear.
BBC news diplomatic editor Mark Urban reported that a colleague had told him that Le Mesurier died after ‘falling’ out of the window of his flat, with the colleague said to suspect foul play and “possible state involvement.”
However, Sözcü, a major Turkish daily newspaper, reported, citing sources, that Le Mesurier may have killed himself.