Norway’s Foreign Ministry has advised its citizens against traveling to Iraq, except for the provinces of Dahuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdish areas.
In a statement released last week on May 19, the ministry announced that citizens should not travel to these areas unless absolutely necessary, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.
“The State Department makes ongoing assessments of travel councils. The security situation in Iraq is generally challenging and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) are a threat in some provinces.” is the statement.
According to the ministry, Norwegian citizens already in Iraq are encouraged to conduct full security checks.
In addition, the ministry has recommended that all Norwegian citizens planning a trip download the Travel Ready app, where citizens can find up-to-date information for around 200 countries.
On May 11, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also urged its citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Sri Lanka in light of recent civil unrest and economic problems.
In a statement released the same day, the ministry stressed that the embassy in Colombo had limited ability to help Norwegians in an emergency. Therefore, the ministry has encouraged Norwegians to follow developments and fully assess their safety in the event of an urgent need to travel to Sri Lanka.
Norway had previously urged its citizens to refrain from traveling to Shanghai, which is also not mandatory or necessary.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that anti-travel advisories for Shanghai have been put in place due to the shutdown and COVID-19-related restrictions implemented in that city on April 1.
In this regard, the ministry pointed out that as long as the shutdown in Shanghai continues, it will be difficult to enter and exit its territory.
As far as the warning against travel to Iraq is concerned, this is mainly due to the ongoing conflicts in the country, which have intensified in recent weeks.
Since 2014, the Iraqi government, backed by Peshmerga forces, various militias and US-led international coalition forces, has been embroiled in an armed conflict against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This is an international armed conflict on Iraqi territory in which Turkish air strikes have been carried out against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) without the consent of the Iraqi government.
Meanwhile, ISIL went from semi-conventional fighting to guerrilla warfare in 2017 after losing territory in Iraq. They continued to decline in early 2019 after the 2018 decline in ISIL attacks, according to Iraq experts Michael Knights and Alex Almeida. ISIL attacks started increasing in the second half of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.