Troops and tanks swept into the Syrian city of Baniyas, a focus of anti-government protests, in the early hours of Saturday, Al Jazeera reported.
The tanks were advancing on the southern neighborhoods of the coastal city. A protestor told Al Jazeera the Sunni Muslim and mixed areas were “totally besieged” now.
Areas of the minority Alawite sect, to which President Bashar al-Assad and his family belong, were not affected.
Residents had formed human chains to try to stop the operation.
Human rights groups say more than 800 people have been killed in the popular uprising since mid-March.
Up to 30 people were killed in Homs, Hama and Jableh on Friday in what protesters called a “day of defiance.”
The EU launched an arms embargo against Syria on Friday. It also imposed a travel ban on 14 Syrian government officials and froze their assets.
MOSCOW, May 7 (RIA Novosti)