This study is devoted to examining the extreme events aerosol, duration of events, and source of air masses caused across select regions of Iraq during 2003–2021. Daily average aerosol optical depth (AOD) derived from the MODIS-Aqua model and HYSPLIT were used to study extreme aerosol events and their transport pathways during extreme events. The results show that extreme aerosol events were persistent throughout the study years, with a peak in occurrence and intensity during 2008–2013 while decreasing frequently between 2003–2007 and 2014–2021. Iraq witness about 660 extreme aerosol events, with the duration of events ranging from one to more than three days. There were between 70 and 74 extreme occurrences at each station. Baghdad had the largest number of incidents, while Sulaymaniyah had the lowest. The period of the event was most likely one to two days, while events lasting more than three days appeared at the stations Sulaymaniyah, Baghdad, Khanqeen, Rutba, and Basra. HYSPLIT model was used to investigate the movement of air masses of some extreme events. The results unequivocally demonstrated that air masses originating from the Mediterranean Sea and passing through the Al-Jazeera desert were the cause of the extreme events in the northern and western regions of Iraq. Air masses originating from the Arabic Gulf and Egypt both have an impact on the southern region.