On Tuesday, March 13, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi announced that the ban on international flights at Kurdistan regional airports had been lifted. As such, international flights out of Erbil (EBL) or Sulaymaniyah (ISU) airports will be permitted to resume in the coming days, according to the government. However, the Iraqi central government will take control of both airports.
The ban was initially implemented in September 2017 following a controversial independence referendum, which was deemed unconstitutional by Baghdad and criticized by neighboring Iran, Turkey, and Syria (home to large Kurdish populations of their own). Since then, tensions between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have remained high.
Individuals wishing to travel to Iraqi Kurdistan are advised to plan accordingly and contact their nearest Iraqi embassy or consulate for further information regarding visa requirements.
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