Northwestern Iraq (also known as Al-Jazira, Upper Mesopotamia, Assyria, Nineveh, or Ninawa) is a region largely between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the northwestern part of Iraq.
- 1 Kirkuk - A largely Kurdish city that is under control of the Iraqi Government.
- 2 Mosul - The site of Nineveh, the Al-Nuri Mosque, and other sites, nearly all of which were destroyed during the conflict with ISIS.
- 3 Bakhdida - Largest Assysrian town in northern Iraq
- 4 Bartella - A historic christian town
- 5 Sinjar - Near the Syrian border.
- 6 Tal Afar - Home to a large Ottoman-era fortress.
- 7 Baiji -
- 8 Tikrit- The birthplace of Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq.
- 1 Assur - UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ruins of the former capital of the Assyrian Empire, the city was founded around 2500 BC and inhabited until the 14th century AD
- 2 Hatra - archaeological UNESCO World Heritage Site, partially destroyed by ISIS in 2015.
- 3 Dur-Sharrukin - Ruins of the former capital of the Assyrian Empire, located in present day Khorsabad.
As of 2019, Northwestern Iraq remains extremely dangerous for travelers. Bullet holes dot buildings, carcasses of bombed vehicles are stacked along the road, and numerous checkpoints dot the highways. In addition to being treated as a suspect for suspicious activity by the military, one runs the risk of being totally exposed if a full car search is conducted (which occurs frequently).
When traveling to Iraqi Kurdistan, avoid this province. Taxi drivers will not be keen on traveling to NW Iraq themselves.
Be wary if accepting a ride from someone travelling to Kirkuk or Baghdad-- people from these regions are desensitized in some respects, and will drive around Northwestern Iraq (through its suburbs) to shave off a half hour of driving time (by not driving around the Mosul province).
You can realize that you're entering Northwestern Iraq by the flags at the checkpoints. Know the difference between Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan flags.
- 1 Rabia border crossing. Border crossing with Rojava, which is a de facto separate entity from the central government in Syria.
- 2 Al-Qaim border crossing. Official border crossing with Syria, open since September 2019.
The roads in NW Iraq are in the worst condition in the country, often badly damaged and littered with landmines.
Most of the sights in this area have been destroyed by ongoing armed conflict. Do not assume they still exist.
The drinking age of Iraq is 21.
Northwestern Iraq is unsafe for any travel or sightseeing. Although ISIS has been largely driven out, the threat of terrorism remains strong, the cities are mostly in ruins, and landmines still litter the entire region.