1 of 4 | Anti-government protesters hold the Syrian flags and candles at Shuhada or (Martyrs) Square in Swaeda in the southern part of Syria on March 28, 2011. The demonstration was for the victims who were apparently killed by the security forces in Daraa and other cities along in the country. UPI/Ali Bitar | License Photo
DARAA, Syria, April 28 (UPI) -- Syrian officials warned the public Thursday against taking part in unauthorized protests, while the Muslim Brotherhood announced its support for protesters.
The government urged people to avoid unlicensed protests, warning that "the laws in force in Syria will be implemented for serving the security of the citizens and the stability of the homeland," CNN reported.
Earlier Thursday, witnesses said Syrian tanks and security forces spread out through Daraa -- where protests originated in March -- entering homes and arresting an undetermined number of people. Witnesses said there were bodies of the dead in the streets, as well as disruption to water and electricity service.
The Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement announcing it "will be part of this national project led by the spectacular vision and the great spirit of the Syrian youth and we call upon all Syrians of all backgrounds to join in establishing a national project in which all Syrians achieve what they have dreamt of -- liberty, freedom and progress."
More than 200 members of Syria's ruling Baath Party resigned to protest the violent crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators, party officials said.
Baath officials in Daraa announced they were leaving the party in a statement Wednesday, The Christian Science Monitor reported.
"In view of the negative stance taken by the leadership of the Arab Socialist Baath Party towards the events in Syria and in Daraa, and after the death of hundreds and the wounding of thousands at the hands of the various security forces, we submit our collective resignation," the statement from Daraa's 200-plus former party members read.
Separately, 30 Baath members in the coastal town of Banias announced their resignation from the party, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"Considering the breakdown of values and emblems that we were instilled with by the party and which were destroyed at the hand of the security forces we announce our withdrawal from the party without regret," a letter signed by 30 party members from Banias said.
As of Thursday, more than 400 people had been killed since protests against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad erupted, human rights organizations in Syria said. Other sources are saying even more people have been slain, and the government reports security personnel have also been killed.
The Christian Science Monitor said there were also unconfirmed reports of members of the Syrian army refusing to fire on protesters and clashing with the Fourth Mechanized Division, an elite army unit led by Assad's brother, Maher Al Assad.
Leaders around the globe have decried the situation in Syria, especially the use of force against the peaceful gatherings. Human Rights Watch Wednesday urged Arab countries to "join international efforts to establish an independent international inquiry" into the issue.
The U.N. Security Council debated the situation in Syria Wednesday but failed to reach agreement on a response, CNN reported.
The situation even spilled over into Friday's royal wedding in Britain of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Sky News reported.
The Foreign Office confirmed it withdrew a wedding invitation set to Syrian Ambassador Sami Khiyami.
"Representatives of countries with which [Britain] has normal diplomatic relations have been invited to the wedding," a Foreign Office spokesman said, explaining that the invitation doesn't signify endorsement of a country's behavior.
"In the light of this week's attacks against civilians by the Syrian security forces, which we have condemned, the Foreign secretary has decided that the presence of the Syrian ambassador at the royal wedding would be unacceptable and that he should not attend," the spokesman said. "Buckingham Palace shares the view of the Foreign Office that it is not considered appropriate for the Syrian ambassador to attend the wedding."