The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Republican Guard, the Tiger Forces and other pro-government factions are developing momentum in the Damascus subrub of Eastern Ghouta.
On March 16, government forces liberated the town of Jisreen in the southern part of the pocket and besieged the village of Saqba from the northern, southern and eastern directions. On the same day Jaish al-Islam claimed that it had downed a Syrian helicopter in the area of Douma, but these reports were not confirmed by evidence.
On March 17, the SAA and its allies continued their advance and attacked positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in Saqba. Clashes are ongoing in the town’s vicinity.
Additionally, Russian and Syrian forces continued their efforts to evacuate people from Eastern Ghouta.
“At the moment 11,300 people have left [the area], on average over 3,000 people per hour are passing through the humanitarian corridor,” Maj. Gen. Vladimir Zolotukhin, the spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry’s Reconciliation Center for Syria, said on March 17.
The evacuation of civilians is an important part of the wider effort of the Syrian and Russian forces to re-establish security in eastern Damascus.