Aircraft with the U.S. armed forces on Thursday conducted a series of airstrikes against Iranian-backed militia positions in Syria. On Friday, Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, released a statement supportive of Thursday’s airstrikes in Syria.
“Last night, the U.S. showed that attacks on American personnel and interests will not be tolerated,” Rogers said. “I support President Biden’s response to provocation from Iranian-backed militias. We must defend our interests abroad, and I hope the Biden Administration continues to apply pressure to deter future aggression from Iran and its proxies.”
The Department of Defense defended the airstrikes on Friday and said that the strikes were against an Iranian-backed militia position in Syria.
“The purpose for striking these targets was twofold: One, clearly, to try to make an impact on these groups and their ability to conduct future attacks,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters. “And two, to send a very clear signal that the U.S. is going to protect its people, it’s going to protect its interests and it’s going to protect its partners in the region.”
“It was very much a defensive operation,” Kirby said. It sent “a strong signal about our resolve.”
Two F-15E Strike Eagles dropped seven precision-guided munitions on what is being described by the Pentagon as a “terrorist entry control point” at Abu Kamal on the Syrian side of the Iraqi border. Kirby said that the target was a waypoint for the militia groups, Kataeb Hezbollah and Kataeb Sayyid al-Shuhada. Both are backed by Iran. The strike destroyed nine buildings and damaged two others.
Human rights groups claim that 22 militiamen were killed in the strikes.
The strike was reportedly in retribution for at least three rocket attacks against a series of Iraqi installations where U.S. forces or contractors are serving with the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State.
Several Democrats criticized Biden for not getting congressional approval for the attacks.
“The American people deserve to hear the administration’s rationale for these strikes and its legal justification for acting without coming to Congress,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia. “Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances. Congress must be fully briefed on this matter expeditiously.”
Rogers serves as the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. He is serving in his 10th term representing Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District.