Residents and Syrian activists say thousands of troops backed by tanks are reportedly converging on a rebellious northern region.
The Syrian government has said it will take "decisive" action after 120 security troops were killed in the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughur in an attack it blamed on "gunmen."
The pro-government "Al-Watan" newspaper said gunmen had set up ambushes in small villages to thwart incoming troops.
There was no way to independently confirm the reports, as foreign journalists have been expelled from the country.
Hundreds of residents have fled across the border into Turkey amid fears of an imminent crackdown.
Britain and France have proposed a draft UN Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian repression of protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad but stopping short of authorizing concrete action.
The United States has announced it supports the draft -- but Russia and China have indicated they are reluctant to support any Security Council action to condemn the Syrian regime.
Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors was expected to vote in Vienna on whether to bring Syria before the UN Security Council. There has been pressure from the United States and other nations to rebuke Syria over alleged illicit nuclear activities.
compiled from agency reports