As we have been watching on our tv's today the Syrian government is trying to crush the dissent from the anti government protesters today with huge force.
Syria's army has advanced into the southern city of Deraa, using tanks to support troops amid an intensified effort to curb popular protests.
One activist was quoted as saying that security forces were "firing in all directions", and at least five people were reportedly killed.
Witnesses also said security forces had opened fire in a suburb of Damascus.
A prominent human rights campaigner said President Bashar al-Assad had launched a "savage war" on protesters.
In the US, the Obama administration is considering imposing sanctions on senior Syrian officials to pressure the regime to stop its violent crackdown, Reuters news agency quoted a government official as saying.
The official said steps taken could include a freeze on assets and a ban on business dealings in the US, but gave no time-scale for the measures.
According to a UN Security Council diplomat, the UK and other European states are circulating a draft statement condemning the violence in Syria.
There have been numerous reports of crackdowns and arrests around Syria over recent days, despite the lifting of an emergency law last week.
Deraa is the city in which protesters, many of whom are now demanding that President Assad step down, began calling for political reforms last month.
It is just a few miles from the border with Jordan, which has been closed by the Syrians, according to Jordan's information minister.
Opposition activists said Monday morning's raid on Deraa involved as many as 5,000 soldiers and seven T-55 tanks.
This is a big move by the government, an attempt to sort this out once and for all I think. We'll now have to see if the protesters are going to be forced back into their homes, or whether they will remain defiant despite what's happened.
Syria is a one-party state and it has been extremely repressive in the past. The last time this happened was 1982 when there was an insurgency in just one town, Hama. The father of the current president sent in troops and they killed possibly 10,000 people and razed a whole quarter.
That is the history of this government. We may not be seeing anything on that scale but we are seeing something of that character, with troops being moved in to make sure the government remains the government.
The US has suggested that sanctions may be imposed on Syrian regime officials in response to the crackdown, but I don't think many people in Syria think targeted sanctions will make a difference in a situation like this.
Tanks surrounded the Omari mosque in the old city with snipers firing from rooftops, anonymous opposition sources said. The opposition reported than more than 25 people were killed, and their bodies could not be reached because of the fierce gunfire. This claim could not be independently verified.
One activist, Abdullah al-Harriri, told AFP: "The men are firing in all directions and advancing behind the armour which is protecting them."
"Electricity is cut off and telephone communications are virtually impossible."
While there are reports of growing strife among Syrian army officers on different levels - with suggestions that some soldiers have changed sides and are now fighting with the people of Deraa - foreign journalists have been prevented from entering the country, making information hard to verify.
But the BBC's Owen Bennett-Jones, in neighbouring Lebanon, says the use of tanks has not been reported elsewhere in Syria, and would mark a scaling up in the government's response to protests.
It appears from the latest reports that the government is absolutely determined to use force to suppress the protest movement, he says.
All this news is very worrying for the good people of Syria. Several questions come to mind though firstly will this finnish off this uprising by the good people of Syria or will they cease for now but come back and defy the governments orders at a later date looking to push back the government more ?
also the key here again just like in the Egyptian uprisings the army could be key here. In Egypt as we saw the army split and a lot downed guns and joined the rebels in trying to over over throw the government which ended up in a success in that instance.
Many questions still there for me and what is most notable is the western hypocrisy on this situation. When you looka cross the region to Libya where NATO planes continue to bomb Tripoli and Libya itself enforcing their "no fly zone " which i think they have destroyed all targets now so no idea why they are still there is striking when you look at Syria and American, British and french polititains are not calling for intervention there this time ? this all seems very wrong and why Libya is deamed nessesary to enforce a no fly zone yet Syria is looked at ok to let it carry on while putting up silly sanctions which have no affect at all.
So it will be interesting to see how this one develops. I do hope the government is over thrown in Syria and the power is given to the workers in a trade union movement to brin about a socialist society but i am guessing if there is any chance of that the imperialist west will not like to see that and will act then.