Washington: US President Joe Biden in a letter formally notified Congress about his decision to authorize airstrikes against Iran-backed militias near the Iraq-Syria border.
“At my direction, on June 27, 2021, United States forces conducted targeted strikes against facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq near the Iraq-Syria border,” Biden said on Tuesday. “These facilities were used by Iran-backed militia groups that have been involved in a series of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and rocket attacks against United States personnel and facilities in Iraq.”
Biden said the United States is prepared to take further action if needed to address future threats or attacks.
The US president said he appreciates the support from Congress in this matter, adding that he exercised his authority under US law and Article 51 of the United Nations charter, which permits countries to engage in self-defense, including collective self-defense, against an armed attack.
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said several members of Congress were notified ahead of time about Biden’s decision to authorize airstrikes.
The strikes represent the second time Biden, as US president, has ordered attacks against militia in the region allegedly linked to Iran. In February, the United States launched airstrikes against Iranian-backed Iraqi militia in eastern Syria. Biden justified the February strikes on Article 51 of the UN Charter – which stipulates that all nations have an “inherent” right to self-defense.
On late Sunday, the Pentagon said that US fighter jets had struck facilities of the Iranian-backed militants – Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) – in the Syrian-Iraqi border region in response to attacks against American interests in Iraq. According to Syrian state television, the airstrikes likely left a child killed and three people injured.