Syrian tanks have advanced deep into the centre of Hama following more heavy shelling on Wednesday, according to residents.
One said communications had been cut off, adding that the authorities were taking advantage of public attention being drawn to the Mubarak trial to “finish off Hama”.
The tanks are said to have reached the main Orontes Square, focal point of many of the recent protests against the regime.
As the latest victims of the repression were buried on Tuesday, the UN Security Council failed for a second consecutive day to find a common position on Syria.
Western countries want a resolution condemning the crackdown. Russia takes issue with the wording, but says in principle a declaration might be acceptable if it does not involve sanctions.
However, China, Brazil, India and South Africa fear it may lead to military intervention, a charge denied by Britain and France.
On Tuesday the EU imposed more sanctions against leaders close to President Assad.