The founder of an organisation that trained the White Helmets, a Syrian emergency response group, has died in Istanbul, his neighbor and a diplomat said on Monday.
James Le Mesurier, founder of the Mayday Rescue group, was found dead early on Monday near his home in central Istanbul's Beyoğlu district, the neighbor said. The diplomat said the circumstances around his death were unclear.
The White Helmets, known officially as Syria Civil Defense, have been credited with saving thousands of people in rebel-held areas during years of bombing by Syrian government and Russian forces in the country's civil war.
Mayday Rescue is a not-for-profit organisation with offices in Amsterdam and Istanbul whose projects have been funded by the United Nations and various governments.
Le Mesurier told Al Jazeera in 2015 that he had begun training and supporting the organisation in early 2013 alongside Turkish rescue experts, starting with "a single team of 20 people."
"I was working in Istanbul... and got together with a group of Turkish earthquake rescue volunteers," he said.
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