BEIRUT — Syrian troops tightened their siege of the city of Hama on Tuesday, sending residents fleeing for their lives and drawing a fresh wave of international condemnation against a regime defying the growing calls to end its crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with U.S.-based Syrian democracy activists as the Obama administration weighed new sanctions on Syria. Congressional calls also mounted for action against President Bashar Assad’s regime, as the death toll from two days of military assaults on civilians Sunday and Monday neared 100.

Italy recalled its ambassador to Syria “in the face of the horrible repression against the civil population” by the government, which launched a new push against protesters as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began Monday. Italy was the first European Union country to pull its ambassador, and the measure came a day after the EU tightened sanctions on Syria.

The mounting international outcry has had no apparent effect so far in Syria, an autocratic country that relies on Iran as a main ally in the region.

The top U.S. military officer said Washington wants to pressure the Syrian regime. But he added there was no immediate prospect of a Libya-style military intervention.

“There’s no indication whatsoever that the Americans, that we would get involved directly with respect to this,” Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said Tuesday.

The British Foreign Office said it shares Italy’s “strong concerns about the situation in Syria” but is not recalling its ambassador.

“In the absence of an end to the senseless violence and a genuine process of political reform, we will continue to pursue further EU sanctions,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement. Without change, “President Assad and those around him will find themselves isolated internationally and discredited within Syria.”

At United Nations headquarters in New York, the Security Council met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss a revised European-drafted resolution backed by the United States that would condemn Syria’s attacks against civilians.

Russia softened its stance, indicating it would not oppose such a resolution. Last month, Russia and China had threatened to veto such a resolution, effectively blocking it.

But Sergei Vershinin, chief of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Middle East and North Africa Department, told Russian news agencies Tuesday that such a resolution should not impose sanctions because that would only escalate the conflict.

There was still no sign the Syrian regime was willing to back down.

There has been an intensified campaign since Sunday, apparently aimed at preventing protests from swelling during Ramadan, when Muslims throng mosques for special nightly prayers after breaking their daily dawn-to-dusk fast. The gatherings could turn into large protests.

As expected, protests erupted Monday evening across the country, with hundreds turning out in cities including Homs, Latakia, the Damascus suburbs and the eastern city of Deir el-Zour.

There were scattered protests in Hama, but heavy shelling kept most people inside. Hama has been the target of the recent operation because it has emerged as an opposition stronghold.