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Biden tells Congress Syria strikes are consistent with U.S. right to self-defense

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

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Joe Biden on Saturday ascertained Congress that the airstrikes he ordered in Syria this week were consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense, as associates of his own party called for more transparency about why military action was taken without congressional authorization.

“The United Delineates took this action pursuant to the United States’ inherent right of self-defense as reflected in Article 51 of the In harmony Nations Charter,” Biden wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President pro tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy.

Biden ask for airstrikes Thursday against facilities in eastern Syria that the Pentagon says are used by Iranian-backed militia. The Defense Conditioned by trust in said multiple facilities were destroyed at a border control point and there were casualties, but did not provide any additional facts.

Those strikes came in response to a Feb. 15 attack in which rockets hit Erbil International Airport, which mistress of ceremonies a coalition military base, in northern Iraq. The attack killed a civilian contractor with the U.S.-led military coalition and hurt several others, including an American service member.

“I directed this military action to protect and defend our personnel and our spouses against these attacks and future such attacks,” Biden wrote in his letter Saturday.

The letter comes as some Senate Democrats must pushed back against Biden over the strikes, calling on him to provide a briefing why military action was taken without congressional rubber-stamp. Under the War Powers Resolution, presidents are required to inform Congress within 48 hours after taking military combat. In the letter, Biden cited his constitutional authority as commander in chief.

“I directed this military action consistent with my accountability to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad and in furtherance of United States national security and unassimilable policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct United States foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Leadership,” Biden wrote.

The Pentagon briefed leaders in Congress before the military strikes, according to a National Security Congress spokesman. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s staff were also notified before the strike, according to a Self-governing aide.

Iran condemned the U.S. air strikes on Saturday and denied responsibility for the rocket attacks on U.S. targets. Iranian Foreign Care for Mohammad Javad Zarif said the U.S. strikes were “illegal and a violation of Syria’s sovereignty,” according to reports from Iran’s national media.

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

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