Syrian authorities stepped up their crackdown on protesters Monday, deploying thousands of soldiers and tanks to the city of Daraa where protests started last month.
Witnesses say at least 25 people were killed in the crackdown, AFP reports. Rights activists told the news agency a 3,000-strong military force had entered the city of Daraa.
Tanks were deployed in strategic positions, and snipers on rooftops. "The men are firing in all directions and advancing behind the armor, which is protecting them,” activist Abdullah Al-Harriri told AFP.
The crackdown on demonstrators comes despite the announced end to a 48-year-long emergency rule last week, which gave authorities far-reaching powers in suppressing any form of protest or opposition.
Syrian authorities have blamed the protests on extremist groups.