BEIRUT – Syria used gunboats for the first time Sunday to crush the uprising against Bashar Assad’s regime, hammering parts of the Mediterranean coastal city of Latakia after thousands marched there over the weekend to demand the president’s ouster. At least 25 people — including a 2-year-old girl — were killed, according to activists.

The coordinated attacks by gunboats and ground troops were the latest wave of a brutal offensive against anti-government protests launched at the beginning of the month.

The assault showed Assad has no intention of scaling back the campaign, though it has brought international outrage and new U.S. and European sanctions.

“We are being targeted from the ground and the sea,” said a frightened resident of the al-Ramel district of Latakia, the hardest-hit neighborhood.

“The shooting is intense. We cannot go out. They are raiding and breaking into people’s homes,” he added, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

As the gunships blasted waterfront districts, ground troops backed by tanks and security forces stormed several neighborhoods including al-Ramel, sending terrified women and children fleeing, some on foot, to safer areas.

The al-Ramel resident said at least three gunboats were taking part in the offensive, and that many people have been killed and wounded. The shooting targeted several mosques in the area.

“Many homes have been destroyed and the shabiha have broken into shops and businesses,” he said, referring to pro-government gunmen, as they are called by Syrians.

The assault on Latakia began Saturday, when tanks and armored personnel carriers rolled into al-Ramel district amid intense gunfire.

On Friday, as many as 10,000 marched there, calling for the president’s ouster.

Syrian forces pushed back into Latakia again Sunday.