News

Bombing in Syria

By: Angel Liang — Correspondent

Within the first month of Biden’s term as president, the Middle East has been bombed by the United States. 

These attacks took place in Al Bab and Afrin, without congressional approval. These attacks were conducted by the US to attack Iranian backed militias who were reported to be attacking American and coalition forces. Biden’s administration had hoped that these attacks on the Iran-backed militants would coerce Iran into negotiations to “reviving a 2015 agreement that restricts Tehran’s nuclear program — one that was abandoned by the Trump administration,” reports the Los Angeles Times. This air strike was in response to another attack on American troops on February 15th.

Both support and criticism have arisen from Biden’s decision. CNN reports that “The White House said Friday the strikes were backed by Article II of the Constitution as well as the UN charter.” Others also say that Article II gives Biden “authority to defend US personnel … and to deter the risk of additional attacks over the coming weeks.” Pentagon’s Press Secretary, John Kirby, also tells reporters that this attack in particular was a more defensive strike than an offensive one, though many Congresspeople have disagreed.

Although some Republicans have shown support for the President’s decision, many Democrats have voiced their criticisms of Biden. Senator Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, said in a statement that “offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutionally absent extraordinary circumstances. Congress must be fully briefed on this matter expeditiously.” Other Democrats in Congress that have also expressed their criticism in the President’s refusal to brief Congress about the attacks on Syria include Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut and Representative Ro Khanna from California.

This attack has left at least five people dead and eighteen injured. A few hours later, two more people were killed and another fifteen were injured. Many UN officials have also denounced the bombings in Northern Syria. UN officials have called to adhere to their obligations under the International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law to protect from further civilian casualties. “After more than nine years of crisis, vulnerable civilians living in Syria have already endured immense suffering. They must no longer be impacted by such horrific attacks,” UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria Imran Riza and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis Muhannad Hadi said in a statement.

Biden later called off a second strike on a different target in Syria after the spotting of a woman and children in the area. NBC news writes that “The president made the decision to cancel the separate airstrike after military reconnaissance revealed a woman and two children in the courtyard of the intended target, according to the senior administration official.” Thirty minutes before the bombs were scheduled to fall, Biden called off the second attack, but proceeded with the first one. 

Pope Francis has also announced he will be making a visit to Syria to “lament the (civil) war and its many devastating effects on Syrians.” The Pope called for the rebuilding of the nation of Syria and to begin economic and social recovery.

image from theguardian.com

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