Turkish military: 2 soldiers, 8 Kurdish militants killed in northern Iraq

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Turkish soldiers stand near armoured vehicles during a demonstration in support of the Turkish army's Idlib operation near the Turkey-Syria border near Reyhanli, Hatay, on October 10, 2017. The Turkish army has launched a reconnaissance mission in Syria's largely jihadist-controlled northwestern Idlib province in a bid to create a de-escalation zone, the military said on October 9. / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) announced on Tuesday that two Turkish soldiers were killed and three were wounded on Monday in a blast caused by an improvised explosive device planted by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants near Zap in predominantly Kurdish northern Iraq.

The TSK also stated that eight PKK militants were killed in subsequent air strikes it launched in the area following the explosion.

The military statement said the incident was separate from another blast earlier on Monday in northern Iraq in which two soldiers were killed, according to a Reuters report on Tuesday.

Turkish authorities had conducted direct talks with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan for several years until a truce in effect collapsed in the summer of 2015.

Since then, there have been heavy clashes between the PKK and Turkish security forces. More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

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