NEW YORK, June 29 (Reuters) – The United States told the UN Security Council on Tuesday it was targeting Iranian-backed militias in Syria and Iraq with airstrikes to deter militants and Tehran to conduct or support further attacks against US personnel or facilities.
Under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, the 15 members of the Security Council must be immediately informed of any action taken by States in self-defense against an armed attack.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the airstrikes hit facilities used by militias, accused of a growing series of drone and rocket attacks on US personnel and facilities in Iraq.
“This military response was taken after non-military options proved insufficient to deal with the threat, with the aim of defusing the situation and preventing further attacks,” she wrote in a letter, seen by Reuters.
President Joe Biden wrote a similar letter to Congress on Tuesday. “The United States is ready to take further action, if necessary and appropriate, to deal with new threats or attacks,” he said.
US troops came under rocket fire in Syria on Monday in apparent retaliation for US airstrikes over the weekend. About 34 rockets were fired in the attack, but there were no injuries, a US military official said on Tuesday. Read more
As the Iraqi and US military coordinate closely in a separate battle in Iraq against the remnants of the extremist Sunni Islamic State group, the Iraqi government and military have condemned the US airstrikes against the Iranian-backed militia.
The United States launched airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria in 2014, telling the United Nations it acted because the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had failed to eliminate the safe havens used by activists to launch attacks on Iraq.
Iraq told the UN Security Council at the time that it had asked for US help because a refuge for militants in Syria had made its border “impossible to defend”.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; edited by Jane Wardell
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