ANKARA (AFP) - The Turkish military has launched a major air and ground operation against Kurdish rebels after a spike of deadly attacks in the southeast, local sources said on Thursday.  Thousands of ground troops, police forces and village guards are involved in the operation that started late Wednesday in the mountainous areas of Kato, Lale and Merinos in Sirnak province near the Iraqi border, sources told AFP. Troops are backed by helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, they added. The military operation is mostly concentrated inside Turkey but sources said jets occassionally cross into the Iraqi airspace to bomb rebel hideouts.One soldier was killed and two others were wounded in the ongoing operation, they said.The region has been the scene where members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) wielding rocket launchers and machine-guns attacked a security complex Sunday night, triggering a firefight that left 30 people dead. Ten soldiers were killed and seven wounded in the attack targeting the security complex at Beytussebap, which lies about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Iraqi border. The PKK has escalated its attacks recently in the Kurdish-majority southeast.Some government officials believe that Syria - once backed by Ankara - is helping the PKK in retaliation for Turkey’s support for rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.The PKK, considered a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms in Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives.