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 currently under control of the Iraqi Government.
- 2 Mosul - The site of Nineveh, the Al-Nuri Mosque, and other sites, nearly all of which have been destroyed because of the recent conflict with ISIS.
- 3 Sinjar- Located near the Syrian border.
- 4 Tal Afar- Home to a large Ottoman-era fortress.
- 5 Tikrit- The birthplace of Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq.
- Assur - A ruin that once served as the capital of the Assyrian Empire.
- 1 Hatra , former UNESCO-listed archaeological site largely destroyed by ISIS in 2015.
As of 2018, Northwestern Iraq remains extremely dangerous for tourists. 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 travelling to Iraqi Kurdistan, one MUST avoid this province. This must be made extremely clear with taxi drivers (who will not be too keen on travelling to Al Jazira themselves).
Note that a HUGE error can be made if a foreigner accepts 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 realise that you're entering Northwestern Iraq by the flags at the checkpoints. Know the difference between Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan flags-- it might save your life.
The roads in Assyria are in the worst condition in the country, often badly damaged and littered with landmines.
- 1 Assur. These are the ruins of a city founded around 2500BC and inhabited until the 14th century AD. It's inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The drinking age of Iraq is 21.
At the moment, 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.