Syrian security forces have fired on thousands of protesters who poured into the streets throughout the country killing at least 10 people, activists say.
The clashes came one day after the United States and its European allies demanded that President Bashar Assad step down.
Soldiers, tanks and armoured personnel carriers were deployed, despite Assad’s assurances to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that military and police operations had stopped.
The harsh statements by Western leaders also appeared to have no immediate effect.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and The Local Co-ordination Committees, a group that documents anti-regime protests, said demonstrations took place in the capital Damascus, the central city of Homs, the southern province of Daraa, the coastal city of Latakia, the eastern city of Deir el-Zour and other areas.
The observatory said five people were killed in the southern village of Ghabagheb, three in the nearby village of Hirak and one each in Homs and the southern village of Inkhil. LCC said that 12 people were killed in different areas, mostly south of the country.
It was impossible to independently verify the death toll because Syria has banned foreign reporters.
There also was a wave of arrests today.
Syrian state TV said gunmen shot dead one policeman and wounded four in the Damascus suburb of Harasta while four policemen were wounded in Inkhil.
Assad is coming under mounting criticism for his crackdown on a five-month uprising. Human rights groups and witnesses accuse Syrian troops of firing on largely unarmed protesters and say more than 1,800 civilians have been killed since mid-March.
In a report released in Geneva, a UN team said the violence in Syria should be referred to the International Criminal Court.