British army officer and founder of Syria volunteers found dead

A member of the Russian military police stands outside an armoured personnel carrier at a position along the Syria-Turkey border. James Le Mesurier, who was found dead, helped found the White Helmets volunteer organisation in Syria. Picture: Delil Souleiman/Getty Images
A member of the Russian military police stands outside an armoured personnel carrier at a position along the Syria-Turkey border. James Le Mesurier, who was found dead, helped found the White Helmets volunteer organisation in Syria. Picture: Delil Souleiman/Getty Images
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A former British army officer who helped found the White Helmets volunteer organisation in Syria has been found dead in Istanbul, Turkish officials said.

James Le Mesurier’s body was found near his home in the Beyoglu district by worshippers on their way to a mosque, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The Istanbul governor’s office said that “comprehensive administrative and judicial investigations into Le Mesurier’s death have been initiated”.

The Anadolu agency said police established that no one had entered or left his home at the time of the incident, and believe he may have fallen to his death.

Mr Le Mesurier was the founder and CEO of May Day Rescue, which founded and trained the White Helmets, also known as the Syria Civil Defence.

Anadolu also reported that Mr Le Mesurier’s wife told police her husband had been taking medicine to treat “intense stress”.

The White Helmets group confirmed his death on its Facebook page.

“The family of the Syrian Civil Defence 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 group said.