Witnesses say several thousand Syrian army troops, flanked by special forces, shot their way into the southern city of Daraa before dawn Monday, causing numerous casualties. Tanks reportedly began the assault, shelling the city as they moved in from four sides.
Videos distributed by human rights activists show black smoke over the city center and fires burning as shell-fire crackled in the background.
Reports say Syrian special forces stormed private homes to make arrests, Witnesses say snipers began shooting from rooftops and many victims remain lying in the streets.
Jordanian authorities said the main highway crossing between Jordan and Syria was closed to traffic and that two border posts were not allowing anyone to enter Syria.
Syrian rights activists say that security forces also encircled the Damascus suburbs of Douma and Madaamiya, arresting hundreds of people.
The crackdown came as Syrian government media condemned what was called the "crimes of armed gangs" and "outside plots to divide the country." Syrian television reported that 15 members of the army and security forces were killed in recent violence.
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