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“GCC countries … call for an immediate end to the violence and any armed appearances, as well as an end to the bloodshed,” it said.

Under the relentless clampdown, Hama residents on Friday warned that medical supplies were running out and food was rotting after six days without electricity. One resident described the humanitarian situation as “catastrophic.”

Everything was closed, including bakeries and pharmacies, he said. “There are sick people, people with diabetes who have run out of insulin … The food has spoiled because there’s no electricity,” he said. “You cannot imagine how tired and terrified people are.”

Syrian government forces launched the Hama assault on Sunday, cutting off electricity, phone services and Internet and blocking supplies into the city of 800,000 as they shelled neighborhoods and sent in tanks and ground raids.

It appeared to be an all-out attempt to take back the city — which has a history of dissent — after residents all but took it over since June, barricading it against the regime. Rights group say at least 100 people have been killed, while some estimates put the number as high as 250.

The tolls could not be verified because of the difficulty reaching residents and hospital officials in the city, where journalists are barred as they are throughout Syria.

Across the country, tens of thousands of protesters marched on Friday, chanting their solidarity with Hama and demanding the ouster of President Bashar Assad.

Located 130 miles (210 kilometers) north of the capital Damascus, Hama holds special significance for Syrians because of a 1982 massacre that sticks in the collective memory. In 1982, Assad’s father, Hafez Assad, ordered the military to quell a rebellion by Syrian members of the conservative Muslim Brotherhood movement there, sealing off the city in an assault that killed between 10,000 and 25,000 people.

Syria-based rights activist Mustafa Osso said at least 24 people civilians died Friday, most of them in Damascus suburbs when security forces opened fire during daytime protests and late night demonstrations following evening Ramadan prayers. He said five were killed in Hama and its surrounding countryside.

The toll was confirmed Saturday by the Local Coordination Committees, a key activist groups tracking the Syrian uprising.

The U.S. State Department on Friday urged Americans to leave the country immediately and advised those who remain in the country to restrict their movements. The warning came as congressional calls grew for the Obama administration to impose severe new sanctions on President Bashar Assad’s regime.

In a new travel warning, the department said Americans should depart Syria while commercial flights and other transportation are still available “given the ongoing uncertainty and volatility of the situation.” It noted that Syrian authorities have imposed tight restrictions on the ability of U.S. and other diplomats to move around the country.