AMMAN - Syrian Free Army rebels withdrew on Tuesday from the besieged Sunni Muslim town of Haffeh under pressure from bombardment by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, a rebel spokesman said.

"Heavy shelling by field artillery has forced the remaining 200 rebels defending Haffeh to leave. There are several thousand civilians left without anyone to protect them from the Alawite militias surrounding the town," Selim al-Omar said by phone from the coastal city of Latakia, 30 kms west of Haffeh.

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