News

World

British Founder of Syrian ‘White Helmets’ Aid Organization Found Dead in Istanbul

Turkish police officers stand outisde the home office of James Le Mesurier in Istanbul, Turkey, November 11, 2019. (Kemal Aslan/Reuters)

James Le Mesurier, co-founder of the Syrian Civil Defense aid organization in Syria, also known as the White Helmets, was found dead on Monday near his apartment in Istanbul.

According to reports, Le Mesurier, 48, appeared to have fallen from a balcony and was found with multiple fractures in his head and legs. The Istanbul Governor’s Office said “comprehensive administrative and judicial investigations” into his death were underway.

“The family of the Syrian Civil Defense extends its deepest condolences to his family, and we express our deepest sorrow and solidarity with his family, as it is our duty to commend his humanitarian efforts, which the Syrians will always remember,” the Syrian Civil Defense wrote on its Facebook page.

Last week, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Le Mesurier of being a former British intelligence agent who was “spotted all around the world, including in the Balkans and the Middle East.”

“Given the role of the West in undermining stability in these regions, it is not difficult to assume what the British intelligence officer did there,” Zakharova said.

Le Mesurier founded Mayday Rescue, a nonprofit group that organized and trained the Syrian Civil Defense, a volunteer disaster-response organization that has saved thousands of lives in the aftermath of Russian and Syrian government attacks during the Syrian civil war. The organization’s members wore white construction helmets, which gave the group its nickname.

“These are ordinary individuals,” Le Mesurier said in a 2014 interview with BBC. “Former bakers, former builders, former students who had choices for what they were going to do with their lives within the revolution.”

The White Helmets documented evidence of war crimes, including chemical weapons attacks, in addition to pulling civilians from rubble after airstrikes on buildings. The organization was the target of an online Russian disinformation campaign that painted its members as Al Qaeda operatives.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Barr-room Brawl

I’ll confess that I did not watch the entire Judiciary Committee hearing with Bill Barr; I’m grateful that Andy and Rich did the work for me. But I have seen enough of it to fully agree with their sentiments. It was a circus, full of gross process fouls, and everyone who is familiar at all with Congress knows ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Barr-room Brawl

I’ll confess that I did not watch the entire Judiciary Committee hearing with Bill Barr; I’m grateful that Andy and Rich did the work for me. But I have seen enough of it to fully agree with their sentiments. It was a circus, full of gross process fouls, and everyone who is familiar at all with Congress knows ... Read More
U.S.

The Chicago Gun Myth

The tragically incompetent mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union this weekend to deflect attention from the horror show unfolding in her city by blaming interlopers for its spiking murder rate: “We are being inundated with guns from states that have virtually no gun control, ... Read More
U.S.

The Chicago Gun Myth

The tragically incompetent mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union this weekend to deflect attention from the horror show unfolding in her city by blaming interlopers for its spiking murder rate: “We are being inundated with guns from states that have virtually no gun control, ... Read More
Culture

Our Summer of Cultural Suicide

Cultural suicide used to be a popular diagnosis of why things suddenly just quit. Historians such as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee cited social cannibalism to explain why once-successful states, institutions, and cultures simply died off. Their common explanation was that the arrogance of success ... Read More
Culture

Our Summer of Cultural Suicide

Cultural suicide used to be a popular diagnosis of why things suddenly just quit. Historians such as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee cited social cannibalism to explain why once-successful states, institutions, and cultures simply died off. Their common explanation was that the arrogance of success ... Read More

Waiting for the Counterrevolution

We are in the midst of a revolution, a cultural and racial one, that seeks to refute the past, damn the present, and hijack the future. So far, however, we have only heard from one side, the revolutionaries and their enablers themselves. Those trying to reject and then reboot America are small as a percentage ... Read More

Waiting for the Counterrevolution

We are in the midst of a revolution, a cultural and racial one, that seeks to refute the past, damn the present, and hijack the future. So far, however, we have only heard from one side, the revolutionaries and their enablers themselves. Those trying to reject and then reboot America are small as a percentage ... Read More