Syrian forces are pushing towards the centre of the city of Hama as they continue an offensive in which scores of people have died.
Residents told the BBC many people were fleeing to nearby villages, believing the army would gain full control.
On Monday, security forces cracked down on protests in towns around Syria, often after prayers on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The UN Security Council has resumed discussions on the crisis.
Bridget Kendall reports.