Turkish media says Kurdish rebels ambushed a military convoy in southeast Turkey, setting off clashes that killed 16 militants and five soldiers.

The Hurriyet newspaper said Thursday the rebels detonated roadside bombs in Hakkari province as military vehicles were passing, then fired on the soldiers. Sixteen Kurdish rebels were killed in an ensuing operation.

The Hakkari governor's office said five soldiers and 16 rebels were killed in clashes, but gave no other detail.

The ambush comes amid an escalation in violence in recent weeks between Turkish security forces and rebels fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984.

This week, the government blamed the Kurdish rebels for a bomb attack that killed nine people near the Syrian border.