Gunfire reverberated on Tuesday in the southern Syrian city of Daraa where the dead still lay unclaimed in the streets a day after a brutal government crackdown on the popular revolt against President Bashar Assad.

A Syrian human rights group said authorities detained dozens across the country, mainly in several Damascus suburbs and in the northern coastal city of Jableh.

The Syrian Army, backed by tanks and snipers, launched a deadly raid before dawn on Monday on Daraa, where the uprising in Syria started more than a month ago. At least 11 people were killed in the southern city.

Over 400 killed

A relentless crackdown since mid-March has killed more than 400 people across Syria, with 120 dead over the weekend, rights groups said. That has only emboldened protesters who started their revolt “inspired by uprisings in the Arab world” with calls for modest reforms but are now increasingly demanding Mr. Assad's downfall.

The White House has stepped up its condemnation of Mr. Assad's regime, but stopped well short of demanding his ouster. U.S. officials said Washington had begun drawing up targeted sanctions against him, his family and his inner circle to boost pressure on them to halt the repression.

Washington was conferring with European countries and the United Nations about options.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain also was working with other members of the U.N. Security Council “to send a strong signal to the Syrian authorities that the eyes of the international community are on Syria”. The U.N. will discuss Syria later on Tuesday. — AP