>> The Iraqi special forces and army have taken over large chunks of eastern Mosul in their offensive against Islamic State. I'm Michael Georgi, Reuters special correspondent for the Middle East. The next phase of the operation if all of the east is taken will be west Mosul which is expected to be the toughest part of the entire offensive because of narrow streets to prevent large military vehicles and tanks from passing through.
Reuters visited a village just south of Mosul today and the activities there spoke volumes about the Mosul offensive, why it's moving slowly and about the future of Iraq. About 600 Sunni tribesmen had gathered with the support of the army. The army had stationed about ten tanks there and they were prime to move into the next village.
However, Islamic State was gradually firing mortars towards the direction of both the army and Sunni tribesman and this was bogging them down. They couldn't really move forward, they had to move around. So this took up a lot of time of the army and the tribes then watching them, weighing their next move and taking villages is very slow.
Parts of villages are taken, they don't know whether there's suicide bombers inside houses, whether there's booby traps. The presence of these Sunni tribesmen alongside the army in this village was probably encouraging for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, on the surface, at least. He's been trying for about two years to get Sunni tribesmen, the same tribesmen who fought Al-Qaeda with American help during the US occupation, to take up arms against Islamic State.
They've hesitated because his predecessor was seen as very sectarian. But the presence of these men today may have been encouraging but in our conversations with them, it's very clear that they have very little faith in Iraqi politicians, and they're actually calling for federalism after the Mosul offensive.