]>> Marching in to the recaptured village south of Mosul, Iraqi forces greet villagers who have been living under the Islamic State. Some locals nearby told Reuters they'd begun waving white flags above their houses as the military advanced. And lead to be punished by the militants with 50 lashes each.
Sherqat is seen as the stepping stone in the campaign to recapture the Jihadist stronghold of Mosul. The army has taken 12 nearby villages since launching the operation on Tuesday morning. On a trip to Baghdad, the UK's Defense Secretary praised military operations against Islamic State, saying the group had suffered a huge reduction in the territory it held since 2014.
>> I have been reviewing the plans for the operation with coalition commanders here and at the Ministry of Defense here, and I'm confident that Mosul can be liberated in an operation beginning shortly.>> Many questions are being asked about what happens after the fall of Mosul. Determining who will govern the city will be just as complex as the fight itself.
How these Shiite fighters behave and the treatment of Sherqat's residents will closely watched by the million or so Sunni residents of nearby Mosul. They have an historic mistrust of the forces of successive Shiite led governments in the capital. There are concerns that not enough planning has been done for what happens to the country's second largest city once Islamic State is kicked out.