US airstrike in Syria sent 'unambiguous message' - White House

Friday February 26 2021
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In this file US Navy handout image taken on October 4, 2014, a US Navy F-18E Super Hornet supporting operations against IS, is pictured after being refueled by a KC-135 Statotanker over Iraq after conducting an airstrike. Over 17 pro-Iran fighters were killed in US strikes in Syria at the Iraq border overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on February 26, 2021. PHOTO/AFP.

By AFP

The United States sent an "unambiguous message" with an airstrike against an Iranian-backed militia in eastern Syria, the White House said Friday.

President Joe Biden is "sending an unambiguous message that he's going to act to protect Americans and when threats are posed he has the right to take an action at the time and the manner of his choosing," Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

The Pentagon said Thursday's strike, which according to a Syrian war monitoring group killed 22 militia members, was in response for a series of rocket attacks targeting US soldiers in Iraq.

One of those strikes, on a military complex in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil on February 15, killed a civilian and a foreign contractor working with coalition forces, and wounded several US contractors and a soldier.

Psaki said the decision behind the strike was "deliberative" and that Biden's aim was for "deescalating activity in both Syria and Iraq."

Addressing criticism from some in Congress that Biden should have sought legislators' authority before ordering the strike, Psaki said "there was a thorough legal process and review in advance."

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