Syria's regime has drawn sharp international condemnation following the reported deaths of nearly 140 people in the latest crackdown by Syrian forces against anti-regime protesters.
Activists on July 31 said at least 136 people were killed across Syria, including scores of deaths in the city of Hama in a tank-backed assault.
In response to the reported bloodshed, Germany has requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on August 1 to discuss a possible resolution condemning the violence.
In Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama said he was "appalled by the Syrian government's use of violence and brutality against its own people."
Obama added in a statement: "The reports out of Hama are horrifying and demonstrate the true character of the Syrian regime."
Turkey's Foreign Ministry added its voice to calls for a halt to the Syrian violence, saying Ankara is "deeply saddened and disappointed together with all the Islamic world by the current developments on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan.”
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called the reported bloodshed "unjustified" and "unacceptable," and said the Syrian security forces "have the duty to protect citizens, not to massacre them indiscriminately."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has demanded that the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad immediately stop the violence, warning Syrian authorities that they "are accountable under international human rights law for all acts of violence perpetrated by them against the civilian population."
Syrian authorities have expelled most independent journalists, making it difficult to verify reports of fighting.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 1,888 people have been killed since the protests began, 1,519 of them civilians and 369 members of the security forces.
Watch: Amateur video posted online appears to show civilians who have been shot and wounded in Hama.
compiled from agency reports