Syrian forces have pulled back from a rebel-held town near Lebanon after an agreement with insurgents to end fighting, a senior opposition leader in contact with residents said on Thursday.

Dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles that had been surrounding Zabadani, 30 km (19 miles) northwest of Damascus, pulled back on Wednesday night to military garrisons 8 km away, and food and basic supplies have started reaching the town, Kamal al-Labwani told Reuters.

The attack on Zabadani could renew any time. They may have pulled out of the area because they want to replace troops that have been hesitant to storm the town with more loyal forces, said Labwani, who is in the Jordanian capital.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces attacked Zabadani on Friday, after frequent demonstrations against his rule in the mixed Sunni Muslim and Christian town, situated near smuggling routes in mountains separating Syria from Lebanon.

It was the first big military assault since Arab monitors arrived in the country last month. Residents and opposition sources say insurgents managed to hold back the attacking troops until a ceasefire was reached on Tuesday.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian authorities and state media have not mentioned the Zabadani ceasefire or five days of fighting that preceded it.

Arab monitors witnessed one demonstration there this week during a pause in the fighting, according to residents and YouTube footage which could not be independently verified.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom. Edited by Richard Meares)