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Biden tells Congress Syria strikes are in line with U.S. proper to self-defense


President Joe Biden arrives at Ellington Area Joint Reserve Base in Houston, Texas, U.S., February 26, 2021.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Joe Biden on Saturday advised Congress that the airstrikes he ordered in Syria this week have been in line with the U.S. proper to self-defense, as members of his personal celebration referred to as for extra transparency about why army motion was taken with out congressional authorization.

“The US took this motion pursuant to america’ inherent proper of self-defense as mirrored in Article 51 of the United Nations Constitution,” Biden wrote in a letter to Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President professional tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy.

Biden ordered airstrikes Thursday towards amenities in jap Syria that the Pentagon says are utilized by Iranian-backed militia. The Protection Division mentioned a number of amenities have been destroyed at a border management level and there have been casualties, however didn’t present any extra data.

These strikes got here in response to a Feb. 15 assault through which rockets hit Erbil Worldwide Airport, which hosts a coalition army base, in northern Iraq. The assault killed a civilian contractor with the U.S.-led army coalition and injured a number of others, together with an American service member.

“I directed this army motion to guard and defend our personnel and our companions towards these assaults and future such assaults,” Biden wrote in his letter Saturday.

The letter comes as some Senate Democrats have pushed again towards Biden over the strikes, calling on him to offer a briefing why army motion was taken with out congressional approval. Below the Conflict Powers Decision, presidents are required to tell Congress inside 48 hours after taking army motion. Within the letter, Biden cited his constitutional authority as commander in chief.

“I directed this army motion in line with my duty to guard United States residents each at house and overseas and in furtherance of United States nationwide safety and overseas coverage pursuits, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct United States overseas relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Govt,” Biden wrote.

The Pentagon briefed leaders in Congress before the military strikes, based on a Nationwide Safety Council spokesman. Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s workers have been additionally notified earlier than the strike, based on a Democratic aide.

Iran condemned the U.S. air strikes on Saturday and denied duty for the rocket assaults on U.S. targets. Iranian Overseas Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif mentioned the U.S. strikes have been “unlawful and a violation of Syria’s sovereignty,” based on experiences from Iran’s state media.

— CNBC’s Christian Nunley and Reuters contributed to this report.