On March 17, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Tiger Forces backed up by the Russian Aerospace Forces captured most of Kafr Batna and Saqba towns in the western part of the Damascus subrub of Eastern Ghouta, according to Syrian pro-government sources. Militants had reportedly started withdrawing from the two towns.
During its advance on the towns of Kafr Batna and Saqba, the SAA evacuated thousands of civilians. According to the Ministry of Defense of Russia, over 27,000 civilians were evacuated from Eastern Ghouta on March 17.
Meanwhile, the SAA and its allies resumed their military operations southeast of the Duma district capturing the al-Farabi school. The al-Farabi school is a key position located in the outskirt of Duma’s industrial area.
The SAA advance around the Duma district is likely a response to Jaysh al-Islam’s attempt to shoot down a helicopter of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) over with an OSA air defense system on March 16.
Local observers believe that the SAA will fully secure the towns of Kafr Batna and Saqba soon. Then, the SAA will advance towards Faylaq al-Rahman’s strongholds in the districts of Ayn Taram, Irbin and Hazzah.