On Monday, the United States conducted a series of air strikes against Iran-backed militia groups in Syria, resulting in the deaths of at least 19 people. The targeted locations were reportedly being used by militia groups to launch attacks against US personnel and facilities in Iraq.
According to the Pentagon, the strikes were authorized by President Joe Biden in response to recent attacks on US and coalition personnel in Iraq, including a rocket attack on a US air base in Erbil earlier this month. The strikes targeted facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, two Iran-linked militia groups operating in the region.
In a statement, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said, “The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel.” Kirby also emphasized that the US acted in a “deliberate manner” and took steps to minimize the risk to civilians in the area.
The strikes have drawn criticism from some lawmakers, who argue that the use of military force without prior congressional approval sets a dangerous precedent. Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, tweeted, “Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances. Congress must be fully briefed on this matter expeditiously.”
The Biden administration has defended the strikes as necessary and proportionate, citing the need to deter further attacks on US personnel in the region. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday, “The message we are sending to [Iran] is that attacks on our interests will be met with a response.”
The situation in the region remains tense, with the potential for further retaliation and escalation. The US has urged all parties to de-escalate and pursue diplomatic solutions to the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria