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US foreign policy

Biden will protect US interests, White House says in first remarks on Syria strike

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The US decision to bomb an Iran-backed militia inside Syria was meant to send a message that attacks against Americans would not go unnoticed, the White House said Friday in its first comments since the airstrike the night before.

President Joe Biden ordered the airstrike on targets near the Syrian-Iraqi border late Thursday in response to recent attacks against US and US-led Coalition forces inside Iraq.

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The “deliberative” strike was meant to send an “unambiguous message” from Biden that he would act to protect Americans, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One. The aim was for “de-escalating activity in both Syria and Iraq.”

She added that the US president had the right to respond and take action “at the time and the manner of his choosing” when there are threats to US interests.

Asked what Biden’s “red lines” were for strikes or attacks on US troops or interests, Psaki said: “I've been doing this long enough not to set new red lines.”