U.S. Begins Armed Drone Flights From Turkey

WASHINGTON (AP) -

The Pentagon says the military for the first time conducted armed drone missions out of Turkey last weekend.

Capt. Jeff Davis says so far none of the drones launched airstrikes. He says the U.S. also will likely fly search and rescue missions from the base.

The use of the Incirlik base comes as the United States expanded its combat in Syria, launching airstrikes Friday to defend rebels under attack by the Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s branch in Syria.

Davis says this is the first time the U.S. conducted defensive strikes against anyone other than Islamic State terrorists in Syria. Under current rules, the U.S. can conduct offensive strikes against the Islamic State, not Assad regime forces or others.