Iraq's Civil Aviation Authority says it is suspending flights to the northern Kurdish self-ruled region for two days starting Monday due to Russia's air campaign in neighboring Syria.

The statement, which was issued late Sunday, says the flight suspension to the cities of Irbil and Sulaimaniyah is to "protect travelers" as cruise missiles and bombers cross northern Iraq from the Caspian Sea to Syria. It said other airports will operate normally.

Russia began airstrikes in Syria on Sept. 30 in support of President Bashar Assad's forces, adding a new dimension to the complex war that has torn apart the country since 2011. Last month, its warships in the Caspian Sea fired cruise missiles nearly 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) over Iran and Iraq.