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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - One Turkish soldier was killed and five were wounded on Monday in a rocket and mortar attack by militants as the Turkish forces were setting up a military post in northwest Syria, Turkey's armed forces said on Tuesday.

The statement said the Turkish forces responded with retaliatory fire, without specifying who the militants behind the attack were. One civilian member of the Turkish contingent was also wounded, it said.

The army began setting up the outpost on Monday southwest of the Syrian city of Aleppo, the deepest position they have established so far inside northwestern Syria under a deal with Russia and Iran aimed at reducing violence there.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the observation post was near the village of al-Eis, which would place it less than five km (three miles) from territory held by Syrian government forces and their allies.

A week ago, a large Turkish military convoy heading for the same area came under attack and had to pull back. The region is one of the last main strongholds of rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

The "de-escalation" in violence that the Turkish forces were supposed to monitor has collapsed. In December, the Syrian army alongside Iranian-backed militias and heavy Russian air power launched a major offensive to take territory in Idlib province.

Separately, Turkey launched an offensive two weeks ago into another neighbouring part of Syria, the Afrin region, against Kurdish fighters who control it.

(Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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Reuters