Bomb blast hits military vehicle, wounds 17 in southeast Turkey

The vehicle was passing through the Yuksekova district of Hakkari province when the blast occurred, the army said

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Explosives planted by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants ripped through a Turkish military vehicle travelling through southeast Turkey on Monday, wounding 17 soldiers, the military said.

The vehicle was passing through the Yuksekova district of Hakkari province, which borders Iran and Iraq, when the blast occurred, the army said, adding the wounded were immediately taken to hospital.

The army initially said four of the wounded were in a serious condition, but a later statement said none of the injuries were serious.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have been killed in the conflict. It is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the EU.

A ceasefire between the Turkish state and the militants broke down in July 2015 and the southeast subsequently saw some of the worst violence since the insurgency began.

Elsewhere, Turkish-backed rebels clashed with Kurdish fighters from a US-backed alliance in northwestern Syria on Monday in escalating violence between the two sides, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

The clashes between the Turkey-backed rebels and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia, took place around the village of Ain Diqna and nearby Menagh air base north of Aleppo, the war monitor said.

It said the Turkish forces were stepping up their shelling of SDF positions in other areas in an attempt by the Turkish side to advance.