June 13th, 2012
10:55 AM ET

After 8 days of bombardment, rebels retreat from Syrian town

After eight days of bombardment, Syrian government forces reclaimed the northwestern town of al Haffa on Wednesday, forcing rebels to stage a dawn retreat.

President Bashar al-Assad's government said through the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency that its forces had "restored security and calm after clearing it from the armed terrorist groups."

It said it had seized a cache of armaments, including sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and explosive devices.

An opposition group said rebel forces withdrew from Haffa and surrounding villages "in order to preserve the lives of civilians." The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Haffa had been under heavy shelling for eight straight days.

Fighting raged elsewhere as well, as the Syrian military pummeled cities from both the ground and sky, opposition activists said.

The Homs province city of Rastan came under fresh attack from planes and rocket-propelled grenades, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said.

At least 49 people were killed Wednesday, including 16 in Homs, the group said.

The escalating violence prompted the United Nations peacekeeping chief to become the first official from the global body to declare the Syrian crisis a civil war.

"Yes, I think we can say that," Herve Ladsous said Tuesday. "Clearly what is happening is that the government of Syria lost some large chunks of territory, several cities to the opposition, and wants to retake control."

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Filed under: Syria • World
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Philip

    Like DUH. Afghanistan was the only concievable routte to get Bushco oil to China, so Afghanistans government had to go. Troops had to be used guarding the pipeline infrastructure from the locals.
    Why is this not obvious to all of you here?

    June 13, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    And look how everyone views Syria as not the same old thing all over again. Sheesh. All of the worlds governments are being toppled by other mightier governments the same as down through history!
    Learn from the history of nations, not just history.

    June 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mary

    The Bible of course would be the perfect place to start.
    In my minds eye, it would have started with the great flood, Noah and 8 others in an ark.
    Then maybe hop to Daniels' dream and some research of the statue.

    June 13, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mary

    My point is...
    Lets go the "whole hog" if we're gonna discuss the "history of nations"
    I'm having so much fun finding new words and phrases

    June 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
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