SYRIA — President Joe Biden today ordered an airstrike against targets in Syria overnight federal officials have confirmed. On just his 36th day in office, Biden called for a military strike against targets intelligence officials believe are responsible for a rocket attack that killed a U.S.-led government contractor and injured three U.S. troops.
American forces have struck at an Iranian-backed militia in Syria that launched rocket attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby told reporters traveling with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin.
At President Joe Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces, earlier this evening, launched airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in Eastern Syria. These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against U.S. and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to on-going threats to those personnel, Kirby said.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul strongly condemned the President’s military action.
“Dragging the US into Syria’s civil war is a huge mistake. I strongly condemn this foolish military adventurism,” Senator Paul said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is being called out on social media tonight after her 2017 post on Twitter condemned strikes against Syria, saying, “Also what is the legal authority for strikes? Assad is a brutal dictator. But Syria is a sovereign country.”
Today, her new boss did just that.
“There’s not much more that I’ll be able to add at this point other than the fact that we’re confident in the target we went after, we know what we hit,” the secretary of defense said. “We’re confident that the target was being used by the same Shia militia that conducted the strikes,” the Department of Defense said tonight.
Joe Biden 30 days in office:
Cancel Student Debt Bomb Syria pic.twitter.com/prWG6RWdMq
— Colleen (@TheLeftTea) February 26, 2021
According to the press secretary, the strikes destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups including Kait’ib Hezbollah and Kait’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada.
“We are very deliberative in our approach as you would expect us to be,” Austin continued. “We allowed and encouraged the Iraqis to investigate and develop intelligence for us, and that was very helpful to us in refining the target.”
This proportionate military response was conducted along with diplomatic measures, including consultation with coalition partners. The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both Eastern Syria and Iraq, Kirby said.
“Let me say that I am very proud of the men and women in our force that carried out the strike. As you would expect, they performed in a very professional manner, and we are grateful for their service,” Austin said.