10/11/2012 10:53 GMT

Turkish Helicopter Crash Kills 17 Soldiers Near Iraq Border

A military helicopter crash in the southeast of Turkey has killed 17 soldiers, according to Turkish officials.

The crash took place in the Siirt region of the country, where Turkey is fighting Kurdish militants, but the crash has been blamed on bad weather.

The 13 special forces soldiers on board were killed alongside the four-man helicopter crew, according to the province's governor, Ahmet Aydin.

turkish military helicopter

A Turkish helicopter passes over mountains near Iraq last year

Thick fog had been reported in the mountainous areas of Siirt, but Turkey is still investigating exactly what caused the crash. The Sikorsky helicopter came down on Herekol mountain, near Pervari.

According to the state-run network TRT, the troops were on their way to conduct an operation against Kurdish rebels, who have been fighting with Turkey for decades.

Earlier this week, Turkish soldiers reportedly engaged in a short operation against Kurds in northern Iraq, with no casualties.