The public has recently been deluged with media reports regarding activities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in various parts of Iraq outside of the Kurdistan Region. The latest events involving (ISIS) of course causes concern for those considering a trip to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). As we are physically in Iraq, and one of our owners is a security expert, we thought you might like to know what the situation is really like in Kurdistan.
“In spite of what is happening in other parts of Iraq, the situation throughout Kurdistan remains safe and secure. In fact, the areas where we tour to are further within the security belt provided by the security forces, since they have pushed further to the west and south.”
Senior Security Advisor to the Ministry of Interior
July 5, 2014
Sunni Arab areas of Iraq (unlike Kurdistan) have had numerous and almost continuous security issues since 2003. Hence we have consistently refused to conduct tours there although we get many requests. Kurdistan has for many years been a separate autonomous region with its borders secured by the local very sizable and competent Pesh Merga (Kurdistan military). One of the key reasons both media and many governments often refer to Kurdistan as “The Other Iraq” is that the region has remained relatively safe and stable over the past decades—unlike the rest of Iraq.
The Kurdish security forces are on a higher state of alert and readiness, but that is purely precautionary to insure the integrity of the region. Otherwise, there are no changes in terms of movement, control, or conduct of daily business. The border areas have received large numbers of displaced persons, but they are being held in displaced persons camps if they do not have relatives or others who can vouch for them inside of Kurdistan.
It is important to know that we are in constant contact with the Kurdistan security forces leadership and are well aware of the real time situation. We are also constantly evaluating our routes and destinations to ensure we are staying clear of any areas that are potentially troublesome. The well being of our clients has been and always will be foremost. As we have stated in the past, we will cancel any tour or alter any itinerary we do not deem safe. We are continuing our scheduled tours in Kurdistan for the foreseeable future, as the security situation within the Kurdistan Region is largely unchanged.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.