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Considering the current situation with ISIS in Iraq, is it safe for U.S. citizens to travel to Erbil and other major cities (Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah) in the Kurdish provinces in Iraq? Are there any U.S.-based travel agencies that could help arrange a tour of the region?

closed as primarily opinion-based by CMaster, JoErNanO, Berwyn, David Richerby, JonathanReez Jul 8 '16 at 13:25

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    The State Department says it's not safe, even in the areas you've mentioned. – Michael Hampton Jul 8 '16 at 6:37
  • @MichaelHampton it says the same about Crimea, which is perfectly safe. I'm not saying Kurdistan is safe to visit, but the State Department is not always correct. – JonathanReez Jul 8 '16 at 9:04
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    Safe by what standard? Where in the world do you consider "safe" enough? – CMaster Jul 8 '16 at 11:16
  • I've found that State travel warnings are not always a reliable signal of the security situation on the ground -- Uganda and Vietnsm were great trios despite the warnings. Both were considerably safer than my hometown of Southside Chicago! – Austin Jul 9 '16 at 12:45
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I travelled to Erbil two months back. You should not have any issues but it is not advised to stay for many weeks. The same is not the case with Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah. During my stay I was advised to not leave Erbil city because of possibility of widespread terror attacks. However, i am not sure if this qualifies for all types of trips. It is not a place for tourism at this point of time. However, if you are on some sort of business trip it should be quite safe.

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    Perhaps you could answer another question about Kurdistan? :) – JonathanReez Jul 8 '16 at 11:46
  • Nope. I was there for a little under 6 days and I had nothing to do with a blood test. And it seems like the user wanted this info a year ago :) – DarthVader Jul 8 '16 at 11:53
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    +1 I know a few people who've been to Erbil recently on business related trips - security is tight. I wouldn't go there on holiday though because a) you'd be an unnecessary burden on security, b) consensus seems to be, it's pretty dull (for obvious reasons), c) you really should have a reliable, professional local contact to make sure you're travelling safely, only have safe drivers, etc. – user568458 Jul 8 '16 at 15:27
  • Yeah that's true. Make sure you take a room in one of the established hotels near the city center. Or in one of the residential "villages" which come with their own security personnel. – DarthVader Jul 9 '16 at 8:14
  • Looking go do some dissertation research in Erbil, so I'd need to be there for several weeks. I'm looking to establish a research affiliation and find a reliable local host; not looking to go too far afield. – Austin Jul 9 '16 at 12:43

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