Syrian Civil War

Founder of Syria's White Helmet rescue group found dead in Turkey

Reporters outside the home of James Le Mesurier
Reporters outside the home of James Le Mesurier in Turkey. Photo: Burak Kara/Getty Images

James Le Mesurier, a former British army officer and CEO of Mayday Rescue group, was found dead outside of his home in Istanbul on Monday, reports Al Jazeera.

Why it matters: Le Mesurier helped start the White Helmets, a volunteer search and rescue group in Syria credited with saving the lives of thousands, per Al Jazeera. Turkish officials are investigating whether he committed suicide.

Expert Voices

Years of muddled U.S. strategy worsened fallout in Syria

black smoke rising over a town
The Syrian town of Ras al-Ain during the Turkish offensive, Oct. 17. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images

The turmoil let loose in Syria this week stems in part from the absence of a clear U.S. strategy to counter terrorism and negotiate a diplomatic solution to the country's bloody civil war.

The big picture: President Trump’s hamfisted statesmanship and disregard for national security expertise notwithstanding, America's Syria policy from the Obama administration onward has instilled doubts among Middle Eastern and European allies, leading even NATO member Turkey to decisively cross the U.S.