Tanks pull back from Syrian city, strike continues

By ZEINA KARAM | June 5, 2011 | 8:14 AM EDT

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian activists and residents say tanks are withdrawing from the outskirts of a tense city in central Syria and in southern villages.

The tanks pulled back overnight from Hama, where residents are conducting a general strike in memory of dozens killed when security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters Friday.

A resident said on Sunday most shops and businesses were shuttered in the second day of the three-day closure. He spoke by telephone on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.

Human rights activist Rami Abdul-Rahman also said the army withdrew from the villages of Dael and Hirak near the city of Daraa where the uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime began in mid-March.

The military had been conducting military operations in the area for days.