British founder of Syria’s brave White Helmets ‘murdered’ in Istanbul

November 11, 2019



[Note by Tom Gross]

I have many times over the years on this list praised the work of Syria’s White Helmets civil defense group for their incredible bravery in rescuing and treating injured civilians during the Syrian war. (A volunteer is pictured above.)

Today, James Le Mesurier, the founder of the group, was found dead. He was apparently pushed from the balcony of an apartment building in Istanbul, sustaining severe injuries to his head and legs.

Le Mesurier, 48, was a former British army officer who coordinated 3,000 volunteers, operating inside opposition-held areas in Syria.

White Helmet workers regularly rushed to the scenes of Syrian, Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah bombardments of civilians to try and rescue the wounded from the rubble. They have also helped to document war crimes by those working for Assad, Putin and Erdogan, including the use of chemical weapons.



When Assad and Iran closed in on the White Helmets in southwest Syria last year, Israeli troops under the instructions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (following a request to Israel by humanitarian organizations and European governments) took the extraordinary action of entering Syria to rescue them.

A special IDF mission evacuated 422 White Helmet volunteers from a war zone in south-western Syria.

Reports here from Reuters, Al Jazeera and the BBC:



The group continues to operate in Idlib, the last opposition-held territory in Syria.

The White Helmets have been nominated for the Nobel peace prize. A documentary about the group won an Oscar in 2017.


Among other recent dispatches concerning Syria:
Gruesome videos of Turkish-backed war crimes emerge from Syria


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All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.