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Store-and-forward packet switched networks are subject to congestion under heavy load conditions. In this paper a distributed drop and throttle flow control (DTFC) policy based on a nodal buffer management scheme is proposed. Two classes of traffic are identified: "new" and "transit" traffic. Packets that traveled over one or more hops are considered as transit packets. Packets that are candidates to enter the communication network are considered as new packets. At a given node if the number of allocated buffers is greater than a limit value, then new traffic is rejected, whereas transit traffic is accepted. Indeed, if the total buffer area is occupied, transit traffic is also rejected and, furthermore, it is dropped from the network. This policy is analyzed in the context of symmetrical networks. A queueing network model is developed whereby network throughput is expressed in terms of the traffic load, the number of buffers in a node and the DTFC limit value. Optimal policies where the limit value is a function of the traffic load are found to prevent network congestion. Furthermore, they achieve a very good network throughput even for loads fifty times beyond the normal operating region. Moreover, suboptimal, easy to implement fixed limit policies offer satisfactory results.