On March 13, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) entered the area of al-Qadam in southern Damascus after local militants had been evacuated from it. Militants had been forced to sign an evacuation agreement with Damascus after ISIS units operating in the Yarmouk Camp had mostly overrun their defenses.
ISIS launched an attack on al-Qadam seeking to capture the area before it could be fully secured by the SAA. Clashes continued on March 14.
On March 13, Head of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov commented on the US threat to strike Syrian government forces if the military operation in Eastern Ghouta continues.
“There are many Russian advisers, representatives of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides and servicemen in Damascus and at Syrian defense facilities,” he said adding that Russian forces will take retaliatory actions against any “missiles” or “launchers” posing a threat to Russian service members.
Earlier, both Syrian and Russian officials warned that militants had been preparing to stage a chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta and to blame it on Damascus.
On the same day, the SAA continued its military operation advancing on militant positions in Harasta and entering the town of Jirsin where fighting erupted. Syrian and Russian forces also intensified efforts to evacuate civilians from the besieged areas. Around 150 people were evacuated from Douma.
On March 13 and March 14, the Turkish Army and the Free Syrian Army advanced further in the Afrin area capturing Dermamise, Qarah Bash and other points from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Turkish forces still keep a corridor southeast of Afrin to allow civilians and some YPG members to flee the city in order to ease the battle for it.