Renewed heavy gunfire is reported in the Syrian port city of Latakia as a military crackdown on unrest entered a third day.
Activists say 27 people have died and that residents trying to flee the Ramel district, including women and children, have been fired on by troops.
The government says it is tackling armed terrorist gangs.
More than 1,700 people have reportedly died in the six-month uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
'Shooting is intense'
The Ramel quarter and neighbouring areas are said to be under constant heavy gunfire as tanks and troops move through the streets.
The assault began on Saturday, a day after mass anti-government protests in the city.
Most credible reports put the death toll at above 2,000 and nearly all are civilians who are doing nothing more than exercising their right to protests against a regime that considers any such protests to be violating its power and authority to control every aspect of Syrian life.
It's also been reported that Spain apparently offered Assad asylum as an effort to stop the ongoing onslaught, but Assad rebuffed the effort. It should come as no surprise since Assad's regime really isn't under the kind of mortal peril that was seen in Egypt, Tunisia, or even Libya; the opposition isn't nearly as well defined and formed, and there haven't been the kind of defections that can undermine the regime.
Meanwhile, the Syrian propagandists are hoping to divert attention from their mass murder by claiming Israel has somehow built a "racist" fence in the Golan Heights as though a fence designed to protect Israel against infiltrators is somehow racist or morally equivalent to the mass murder unleashed by Assad's regime.
Fact is that Israel has had no choice but to reinforce its border fences and installations across its northern borders with Lebanon and Syria precisely because those regimes have seen fit to enable protesters to swarm the border in the hopes of provoking international incidents - all of which are designed to take the pressure off Assad.