Syrian troops backed by tanks and firing heavy machine guns swept into a village near the Turkish border Saturday, forcing more people to flee across the frontier.
The Local Coordination Committees, a group that documents protests, said troops backed by six tanks and several armored personnel carriers entered Bdama in the morning. The village, about 12 miles from the Turkish border, was the sole source of bread for nearly 2,000 displaced people crowded near the border. The town was also supplying medicine and other foodstuffs to them.
Without that critical lifeline, some women and children were already crossing into Turkey Saturday afternoon.
The three-month uprising against President Bashar Assad's rule has proved stunningly resilient despite a relentless crackdown by the military. Human rights activists say more than 1,400 Syrians have been killed and 10,000 detained as Assad tries to maintain his grip on power.
Along the border Saturday, those displaced near Bdama said they were running short of supplies.
"We still have some potatoes, rice and powdered milk but they will run out soon," said Jamil Saeb, one of the Syrians who had so far decided to stay in Syria. "This is our first day without bread. We are living in catastrophic conditions," he said.
The British Foreign office urged Britons in Syria to leave the country "immediately." In a statement posted on the website of the British Embassy in Syria, the Foreign Office said Britons should leave "now by commercial means while these are still operating."