Most of the deaths came in air strikes against the region, but earlier this week hundreds of Turkish soldiers also briefly marched into Iraqi Kurdistan in “hot pursuit” of rebels, sparking a multi-hour gunbattle.
Turkey’s military has been launching attacks off and on against northern Iraq for years, as has Iran. Both have cited the mountainous border region as a popular hiding place for Kurdish rebels from their own nations, and Turkey says that the US has been providing “intelligence” for the attacks.
Turkey’s clashes are with a group called the PKK, the “Kurdistan Workers’ Party,” which has regularly been launching attacks inside Turkey for years, but is also seen as expanding attacks in recent months. The group is officially listed as a terrorist organization by the US.