WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — President Donald Trump has no Congressional authorization to order the US military to target groups backed by Iran in Syria, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a hearing on Tuesday.
"I would agree with that," Tillerson said when asked if there was no legal authorization from Congress to target Syrian President Bashar Assad or Iranian proxies.
Tillerson stressed that the US mission and purpose in Syria has not changed from its focus on defeating Daesh. The US-led coalition has been fighting the terrorist group in Syria since 2014 without UN approval or Assad's request.
On April 6, US Navy destroyers fired 59 cruise missiles at the Ash Sha'irat Airbase in western Syria, calling their attacks a "warning" to Damascus following a chemical weapons incident in Idlib province which Washington claimed was carried out by Syrian government forces. The claim was rejected by Damascus. The world is still waiting for the US and its allies to provide any proof for its claims of Syrian government involvement in the alleged chemical attack.
Last month, Senators Jeff Flake and Tim Kane introduced a bill to update the 2001 Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed in response to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Every president since George W. Bush has used the AUMF to conduct military operations in countries where it says terror groups are present, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.