Feb 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

"Be careful": Biden says U.S. airstrike in Syria sent warning to Iran

President Biden
Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that Thursday night's airstrikes against facilities tied to an Iranian-backed militia group in Syria were meant to warn Iran that it "can't act with impunity."

Driving the news: The Pentagon said the strikes, which were authorized by Biden, were carried out "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq" and were intended to "de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq."

What he's saying: When asked by a reporter what message he wanted to send to Iran with his administration's first overt military action, Biden said, “You can’t act with impunity. Be careful.”

An Iraqi militia official said the strikes killed one fighter and wounded several others, AP reports.

  • Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh called the U.S. strikes “illegal aggression” and said they violated human rights and international law, per Reuters.

The big picture: Earlier on Friday, some Democrats criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement that Congress "will need more information to judge the efficacy of the strikes and the signal they send to Tehran and its proxies, but I believe the President acted well within the authorities of his office."
  • A National Security Council spokesperson said the Pentagon pre-notified Congress and that the administration is continuing to brief the Hill at the member and staff level.

Go deeper: U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

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