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British White Helmets founder found dead after Russian accusation

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Post by party animal - not! on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 11:30

Don't know how far George's biography on them has got, but this is truly shocking:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/james-le-mesurier-death-white-helmets-istanbul-fall-syria-spy-russia-a9198071.html

party animal - not!
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Post by annemarie on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 13:37

James Le Mesurier: White Helmets backer found dead near his home in Istanbul

Former army officer helped start the White Helmets, credited with saving thousands of lives in Syria












A former British army officer, who helped start the “White Helmets”, an emergency response group in Syria, has been found dead near his home in Istanbul, just days after the Russian foreign ministry menaced him, accusing him of being a spy. 
James le Mesurier was the director of Mayday Rescue charity that trained members of the Syria Civil Defence, nicknamed the White Helmets, playing a major role in its creation in Turkey in 2013.
He was awarded an Order of the British Empire for his work helping Syrians three years later. 

It is not known how Mr Le Mesurier died, but sources reported he may have fallen from the balcony of his apartment in the Turkish city.
His death comes just three days after Maria Zakharova, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, publicly attacked Mr Le Mesurier claiming on Friday he was a “former agent of Britain’s MI6, who has been spotted all around the world”.
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“We were informed by his family that he had died,” Raed al-Salah, the head of the White Helmets told [size=19]The Independent.

“We read that the police found his body outside his home in Istanbul. But as of now, the police are investigating the case and have drawn no conclusions yet. We are waiting for the police report,” he added. 
Mr Salah said the White Helmets community were “devastated” by the news.
“James is a close friend to us and to the Syrian people, he supported the White Helmets as founder and director of the Mayday Rescue organisation. We are devastated.”
A neighbour told Reuters he was found dead early on Monday near his home in central Istanbul’s Beyoglu district. A diplomat said the circumstances around his death were unclear.
Mr Mesurier leaves behind two children. 
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[size=19]The White Helmets 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. 

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Speaking during a regular press briefing on Friday, Russian spokesman Zakharova attacked Mr Le Mesurier calling him one of the “founders” of the White Helmets.
She claimed he worked as a British spy across the world including the Balkans, and the Middle East. 

Russia is one of the closest allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has repeatedly denounced the White Helmets accusing them of supporting terrorist organisations,  by “staging” airstrikes to frame Syrian regime or Russian forces. 

On Friday Ms Zakharova claimed the White Helmets "stage provocations...  [and have] planned and carried out a series of ruthless fake chemical attacks."


MORE ABOUT
SYRIA |  WHITE HELMETS |  TURKEY |  ISTANBUL |  RUSSIA |  JAMES LE MESURIER








Grundistled8 minutes ago
"The security source said Le Mesurier’s wife told police that she and her husband had taken sleeping pills around 4 a.m. and went to bed. She said she was later woken by knocking on the door and discovered that her husband was lying on the street surrounded by police, the source added." - Reuters UK
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annemarie
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Post by annemarie on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 13:40

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7670147/Top-US-military-official-says-500-troops-remain-Syria.html

[size=34]Highest ranking officer in the US military reveals 600 American troops will remain in Syria - despite Donald Trump's promise to bring them all home[/size]


  • General Mark Milley said some 500 to 600 US troops will stay in northern Syria

  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said not all US military will leave the region

  • Comments come weeks after President Trump said all US troops would pull out

  • Trump later relented, saying he would leave some to protect valuable oil fields 


By AFP and CHRIS DYER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 11:23 EST, 10 November 2019 | UPDATED: 06:21 EST, 11 November 2019






US troop levels in northern Syria will probably stay at around 500 to 600, a top US military leader said on Sunday, weeks after President Donald Trump had announced a complete withdrawal. 
President Trump triggered a Turkish offensive against the Kurds by withdrawing US troops from northeast Syria and allowing Ankara's offensive across the border.
Dubbed Operation Peace Spring by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, images of civilians burned from white phosphorous bombs emerged not long after. 
Trump's abrupt announcement last month that he had ordered a full troop withdrawal drew angry rebukes at home and abroad.

Critics said the pullout could allow a resurgence of the Islamic State group while leaving US-allied Kurdish fighters in Syria vulnerable to a Turkish invasion.
The US president later relented in part, saying he would leave some troops in the region to protect valuable oil fields. 
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General Mark Milley (right), chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, is seen with Defense Secretary Mark Esper at an October 28 at a Pentagon news briefing on the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Milley says 500 US troops will remain in Syria
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Smoke rising in the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain during the Turkish offensive against Kurdish groups in northeastern Syria last month
[size=10][size=18]Haunting footage shows abandoned US military base in Syria




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General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on ABC's This Week yesterday: 'There will be less than 1,000, for sure. Probably in the 500ish frame, maybe six.' 
Russia and Turkey reached an agreement at the end of October saw the deployment of their forces along nearly the entire northeastern border to fill the void left after Trump's sudden withdrawal of US forces from the area.
Trump ordered the bulk of the approximately 1,000 US troops in Syria to withdraw after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated in a phone call that his forces were about to invade Syria to push back Syrian Kurdish fighters whom Ankara considers terrorists.


Milley, who has commanded troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, told ABC that it was important for US troops to remain in Syria so long as IS has a presence there.
'There are still ISIS fighters in the region,' he said, using an alternate term for IS. 'Unless pressure is maintained, unless attention is maintained on that group, there's a very real possibility there could be a re-emergence of ISIS.'
Asked about the killing October 26 of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by a US special forces unit, Milley said it would have a 'significant disruptive effect on the organization.'  
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President Donald Trump waving to the press before entering 'the beast' presidential limousine at Tuscaloosa Regional Airport, Alabama, on Saturday
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Trump said last month that troops were 'COMING HOME,' although reports indicate the US sent tanks to protect oil field in Syria and will keep a military presence in the region 
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The president threatened to impose sanctions, use military force or mediate a dead between Turkey and the Kurds
He said the US had 'a considerable amount of information on his successor', Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi.
'Where opportunities arise,' Milley said, 'we'll go after him.'
Trump has said he wants to wind down US military entanglements abroad where possible, but Milley predicted that American troops, already in Afghanistan for 18 years, would remain there 'for several more years'. 
Around a week after the Turkish incursion into Syria, Trump send Vice President Mike Pence Ankara to broker a ceasefire.
Trump ruin Turkey economically if the regime targeted Kurdish civilians. 
He was also asked whether he knew Alexander Vindman, the army lieutenant colonel and White House Ukraine expert who has testified about his concerns over a controversial phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Milley declined to comment 'on a witness to an active investigation' - the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry into Trump.
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