US President Barack Obama has condemned the Syrian authorities’ crackdown on protesters on Sunday, which activists say has left more than 130 dead.
Mr Obama said he was appalled by the government’s use of brutality against its own people and promised to work to isolate President Bashar al-Assad.
Security forces killed dozens in the city of Hama, the hardest-hit area.
The government said troops were sent to Hama to remove barricades erected by the protesters.
But an official at the US embassy in Damascus dismissed those claims as “nonsense”, saying the government had launched “full-on warfare” against its own people.
Mr Obama said the reports from Hama were horrifying and demonstrated the true character of the Syrian regime.
“Once again, President Assad has shown that he is completely incapable and unwilling to respond to the legitimate grievances of the Syrian people,” he said.
Mr Obama said he was appalled by the government’s use of “violence and brutality against its own people”.
Ministers from France and Germany also condemned the day’s violence, and Italy called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to adopt a firm position on Syria.
Washington (CNN) — The Senate’s top Democrat said Sunday that he has signed onto a debt ceiling deal with President Barack Obama and Republican leaders, pending approval of his caucus.
The statement from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, was the first confirmation of a pending deal after legislative leaders dropped hints all day that an agreement was close.
“Senator Reid has signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement pending caucus approval,” said the statement his office issued.
A senior Senate Democratic aide told CNN on condition of not being identified that while some grumbling was occurring among Democratic senators, they are likely to support the compromise and it “will get the votes.”
However, a House Democrat as well as GOP sources said final details still were being worked out.
“Obviously when you put together a compromise there are some things you don’t like and some things you may like, but how that mix balances out is something we’re looking at right now,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, adding: “As far as I know, our Republican colleagues haven’t signed off either.”
Republican congressional leadership aides in the House and Senate also told CNN on condition of not being identified that GOP leaders were still working on an agreement.