The U.S. military has begun flying armed aircraft over Syria from Turkey, the Pentagon said Monday, a move that could expand its ability to carry out airstrikes to protect U.S.-trained rebels in northern Syria.

Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said that military officials had launched armed drones from Incirlik air base in southern Turkey over the weekend. Previously, Ankara had permitted the United States to use the base only to conduct surveillance flights over Syria.

“At this point, no actual strikes have been conducted, but they have begun flying armed,” Davis told reporters at the Pentagon. He said U.S. pilots would begin armed flights over Syria from the base as well. […]