A bomb reportedly killed five Turkish soldiers and a special forces police officer Saturday in Nusaybin in the southeastern Mardin province of Turkey. The attack has been blamed on Kurdish militants, Agence France-Presse reported. 

AFP cited the Dogan news agency, which reported a bomb left by rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) went off as security force members carried out a military operation in Nusaybin. The town has been under curfew since mid-March as the military attempts to force the PKK out of the city. 



The PKK and Turkey have long been at odds, the group first taking arms against the state in 1984 in an insurgency looking to form an indepedent Kurdish state. The group has since focused on autonomy and increased rights. There was a truce in March 2013, but it collapsed last summer, and the government has moved to push the PKK out of urban areas with force. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said some 355 security force members have been killed in that time and along with 5,359 in the PKK, a figure hard to prove, AFP said. The conflict has turned parts of the southeast into war zones.  

Turkey has also faced a threat from the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, as the prolonged civil war in Syria and Turkish support for the U.S. anti-ISIS campaign has encouraged attacks. Following a spate of attacks in March, including an alleged ISIS-inspired suicide bombing in Istanbul, Erdoğan called it “one of the biggest waves of terrorism in its history,” adding, “We will hit these terrorist organizations as hard as possible.”

Saturday’s attack in Nusaybin comes the day after the PKK claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack that killed seven special forces policemen and wounded 27 people in southeastern Turkey.