U.S. tells U.N. that strikes against militia in Iraq, Syria aimed to deter Iran

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield holds a news conference to mark the start of the U.S. presidency of the U.N. Security Council for March, at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., March 1, 2021. (Reuters photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The United States told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that it struck positions belonging to militia groups in Iraq and Syria to deter the militants and Tehran from conducting or supporting further attacks on U.S. personnel or facilities. 

The U.S. targeted operational and weapon storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one in Iraq on Sunday, in response to drone attacks by the militia against American personnel and facilities in Iraq.

Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran in a statement named four members of the Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada faction they said were killed in the attack on the Syria-Iraq border. They vowed to retaliate.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the strikes hit facilities used by militia blamed for an escalating series of drone and rocket attacks against American personnel and facilities in Iraq, according to Reuters.

“This military response was taken after non-military options proved inadequate to address the threat, with the aim of deescalating the situation and preventing further attacks,” she wrote in a letter, seen by Reuters.

Under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, the 15-member Security Council must immediately be informed of any action that states take in self-defense against armed attack.

U.S. President Joe Biden wrote a similar letter to Congress on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

“The United States stands ready to take further action, as necessary and appropriate, to address further threats or attacks,” he said.

In apparent retaliation for the airstrikes, U.S. troops came under rocket fire in Syria on Monday. A U.S. military official said on Tuesday that nearly 34 rockets were fired in the attack, but caused no injuries.

While the Iraqi and U.S. militaries coordinate closely in a separate battle in Iraq against remnants of Islamic State, Iraq’s government and military condemned the U.S. airstrikes against the Iran-back militia.

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