British drones and spy planes will begin flying reconnaissance missions over Syria in an escalation of UK efforts to combat fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (Isis).

“Both Reapers and Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft will be authorised to fly surveillance missions over Syria to gather intelligence as part of our efforts to protect our national security from the terrorist threat emanating from there,” said Michael Fallon, defence secretary, on Tuesday.

Ministers announced last week they were redeploying two RAF Reapers from Afghanistan to an unnamed base in the Middle East to conduct air strikes against Isis in Iraq. This followed a vote by MPs last month to authorise military action in Iraq, but the motion explicitly ruled out air strikes in Syria without a further parliamentary vote. […]