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The Associated Press
Anti-Syrian regime protesters gather at a square as they hold an Arabic banner, center, reading, "hey, the miserable, the tyrant, what else," during a demonstration at the mountain resort town of Zabadani, Syria, near the Lebanese border, on Friday Jan. 20, 2012. President Bashar Assad's forces attacked Zabadani, some 17 miles (27 kilometers) west of the capital, for six days, sparking fierce fighting that involved heavy bombardments and clashes with army defectors. On Wednesday, government tanks and armored vehicles pulled back, leaving the opposition in control of the town. Buoyed by the opposition's control of a town near the Syrian capital, thousands of people held anti-government protests Friday, chanting for the downfall of the regime. At least eight people were killed by security forces across the country, activists said. (AP Photo)

BEIRUT — An activist group says Syrian security forces have retreated from the streets of one of biggest suburbs of the capital after intense clashes with anti-government army defectors.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' head Rami Abdul-Rahman says that as of early Sunday, government troops had pulled back to a provincial headquarters and a security agency building in the Damascus suburb of Douma. He had no information on casualties.

Syria-based activist Mustafa Osso confirmed that security forces had abandoned Douma, but said he had no information about clashes.

Central Damascus has for most of Syria's 10-month uprising been under the tight control of forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, but its suburbs have witnessed intense anti-regime protests.