Iraqi Kurdistan (South Kurdistan)

Unless you have a very good reason for travelling to Northern Iraq or a death wish it is advisable that you steer well clear of this region. This is one of the most disturbed areas on the planet with fighting going on between Iraqi Kurdish factions, the PKK as well as incursions by regular units from the Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish armed forces. There is little organisation or recognised authority and the situation could be easily described as armed chaos. Mines are everywhere, air strikes common along with artillery attacks. Ambushes along the roads (which are in appalling condition) are also a fact of life. Banditry and highway robbery are also becoming more prevalent.

If you are determined to go, first make contact with either the PUK or the KDP for information (as well as permission) to enter. You may also wish to contact the government of Iraq for visa information as this area is within the sovereign frontiers of Iraq. Crossing is most likely from either Syria or from Iran, although do not expect frontier officials to be very keen on letting you through. Entering through Turkey is to go straight through the war. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to enter the area unless you have some excellent connections. Once there, stick very close to your local sponsors lest you be taken and shot as a spy. A German woman, caught in a Turkish raid on a PKK base in South Kurdistan, is currently imprisoned in Mus for violating the Turkish Anti-Terror law.

This area is not for dilettantes or amateurs -- or romantics!.

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