The Syrian government has taken control of the north-western city of Jisr al-Shoghour. After shelling the town early this weekend, the state military sent attack helicopters and around 200 tanks into the embattled city.
The advance is the latest attempt by President Bashar al-Assad to quell anti-government protests. Since demonstrations in Syria began in April, an estimated 1,400 civilians have been killed.
The city of Jisr al-Shoghour has been the epicenter of the most recent struggle in the Arab Republic. After protests turned violent last week, thousands of Syrians began fleeing to nearby Turkey in anticipation of this weekend's events. According to reports, there are between 5,000 and 7,000 Syrian refugees now in Turkey.
Syrian state television reported that the occupation was done in order to cleanse the national hospital from the elements of the armed gangs after disabling the explosives and the various TNT devices that these gangs planted on the bridges and roads.
The government has been adamant in their stance that violent gangs have been in control of Jisr al-Shoghour since last week. When a demonstration against President al-Assad's regime turned violent last Monday, the government claimed that armed gangs were responsible for killing 120 state police and security-force members.
However, reports from the city claim that a skirmish began when Syrian soldiers who refused to fire-upon unarmed protestors were themselves shot at by the military.
Meanwhile, a backlash against Assad's regime from international leaders continues.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly condemned his one-time ally, saying that Assad must stop the violence and begin to negotiate with his people.
Additionally, Erdogan insisted that the Turkish border will remain open to all Syrian refugees.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement Sunday, saying that the Syrian authorities have an obligation to protect their people and respect their rights. The use of military force against civilians is unacceptable.
Elsewhere in Syria, gunfire was reported by residents in the cities of Homs and Latakia.