The United States said it may impose sanctions against Syria in response to the brutal crackdown against protesters by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Such sanctions would place a freeze on Syrian assets and prohibit business relationships between Americans and Syrians.
Army tanks have reportedly rolled into the cities of Deraa in the south and Douma near Damascus, with accounts of soldiers shooting and killing demonstrators – following a bloody weekend in which more than 100 people were killed.
A spokesman for the White House decried the behavior of Syrian state security.
The brutal violence used by the government of Syria against its people is completely deplorable, said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.
The US is pursuing a range of possible policy options, including targeted sanctions, to respond to the crackdown and make clear that this behavior is unacceptable. The Syrian people's call for freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and the ability to freely choose their leaders must be heard.
On the whole, human rights activists estimate that at least 350 Syrians have died after five weeks of unrest, with many hundreds more wounded and arrested by authorities.
US President Barack Obama strongly condemned the actions of the Syrian regime on Friday.
Meanwhile, at the United Nations in New York, Britain and several other European nations are preparing a draft statement on Syria to condemn the state-sponsored violence and support a call by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's for an independent investigation into the deaths of Syrian protesters.