Syrian state television says the army has begun operations, aimed at capturing armed gunmen, to restore security to the town of Jisr al-Shughour and the surrounding area.
Earlier in the week, the Syrian government said 120 security personnel were killed in the northwestern town.
Latest state television reports say armed groups are setting fire to crops and forests surrounding the town.
The announcement, and the positioning of troops in the area, has prompted a flow of refugees to nearby Turkey.
The government has blamed the deaths on armed groups, but there are reports of a mutiny among security forces.
The Turkish government says more than 2000 Syrians have crossed the border seeking refuge from the anticipated crackdown.