Swathes of settlements on Syria’s northern border now appear to be little more than ghost towns.
The Syrian army is reportedly sweeping through the region as it tries to stamp out widespread anti-government dissent.
Thousands are trying to get to safety over the border in Turkey. It is risky, but they have nothing to lose.
“If we had stayed, we would have been killed,” says one man. “We fled certain death, the whole family, we brought our disabled daughter with us.”
“The army fired indiscriminately, even at the women and children. They shot at everything they clapped eyes on, even the animals,” said another man.
In trucks, in cars, on bikes, even on foot, they are determined to get to safety. They are hoping to join the thousands of refugees who have streamed over the border into Turkey
It is difficult to build a picture of what is really happening in Syria, due to government restrictions on the media. But footage posted on social media websites appears to show protests continuing in other parts of the country.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he has urged President Bashar al-Assad to engage in dialogue.