Syria on Monday sealed off its border with Jordan, the Jordanian information minister Taher Adwan confirmed, following reports that army forces entered the southern town Daraa. "Syria closed its land borders with Jordan. The Syrian decision is related to the internal situation in Syria," Adwan was quoted as saying by Petra news agency, albawaba reported.
Syria forces appear to planning a major security operation, closing off all Syrian land border crossings with neighboring Jordan on Monday.
An eyewitness told The Associated Press that Syrian President Bashar Assad's security forces opened fire on pro-democracy protesters across the country Monday, reportedly killing 13 in the coastal town of Jabla and another five in the southern town of Daraa.
Security forces backed by armored vehicles entered Daraa overnight and opened fire, a resident told Al Jazeera television Monday. Eight tanks were deployed in the old quarter of Daraa, a witness said, adding that several bodies were lying in the main street.
A witness in Daraa said snipers on government buildings and security forces in army fatigues had been shooting at random at houses since tanks moved in just after dawn prayers.
People are taking cover in homes. I could see two bodies near the mosque and no one was able to go out and drag them away," the witness said.
Rights groups say security forces have killed more than 350 civilians since unrest began last month. A third of the victims were killed in the past three days as the scale and breadth of a popular revolt against President Bashar Assad intensified.
Despite Assad's caoncellation of decades-long emergency laws, his forces have continued to clash with protesters detained dozens of opposition activists and protesters in all cites.
An official told Reuters , In Banias, south of Jabla, protest leaders said they would cut the main coastal highway unless the siege on Jabla was lifted. Jabla is home to large numbers of members of Assad's Alawite Shi'ite minority who had generally stayed away from protests in the past.
Meanwhile,the Obama administration may level sanctions against Syria as punishment for President Bashar Assad's government's violent crackdown on protesters, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.