BEIRUT (AP) - Although a Syrian official says government troops have begun pulling back from some of the country's less-restive cities, a week ahead of a deadline, the claim can't yet be verified.
And activists near the capital Damascus are denying that troops are leaving their area. They say the day regime forces leave the streets, Syria will see massive protests that will overthrow the government.
In recent days, Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed to an April 10 deadline to implement the truce plan from international envoy Kofi Annan. It requires government forces to pull out of towns and cities and observe a cease-fire. Rebel fighters are supposed to immediately follow by ending violence.
Earlier today, opposition activists charged that the regime is trying to crush opponents ahead of the cease-fire deadline by carrying out intense raids, arrests and shelling.