Syria sharply raise its already lethal campaign to crush a five-week uprising near the beginning Monday, sending troops backed by tanks, snipers and knife-wielding security forces into the southern city where the revolt began. At least five people were killed and dozens arrested, witnesses and activist said.
The offensive into Daraa was the most intense in a sequence of actions to put down dissent and come into view part of new plan for pre-emptive strikes against the antagonism to President Bashar Assad's regime rather than react to marches and protests.
More than 300 people have been killed transversely the country since the uprising began. But the harsh crackdowns have only served to bolster protesters, who started with calls for reserved reforms but are now gradually more demanding Assad's downfall.