Britain will continue to press for international action against the Syrian regime amid a brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters, a Foreign Office minister said.
But Alistair Burt made clear that there was no prospect of international military action of the sort seen in Libya.
The European Union yesterday expanded its sanctions against Syria and the United Nations Security Council, which has been deeply divided over Syria, met behind closed doors to discuss the situation.
India's UN ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, this month's council president, said he detected "a certain convergence of thinking, concern about the escalating violence".
He said members would meet again today to discuss a draft resolution and other proposals, possibly for a weaker council statement.
The forces of President Bashar Assad have continued their crackdown in Hama, following the deployment of tanks on the streets on Sunday which is understood to have killed at least 70 civilians in the city.
According to reports, tanks shelled neighbourhoods across the city after evening prayers marking the first day of Ramadan yesterday.
More than 1,600 civilians are believed to have died as a result of the official response to largely peaceful protests since March.
The EU imposed asset freezes and travel bans on an additional five military and government officials in Assad's administration, bringing the total to 35 - including the president. Four government entities are also on the list.
EU foreign policy chief Baroness Catherine Ashton said that the recent attacks by security forces showed that the Assad regime was "unwilling to implement the reforms it has promised in response to the legitimate requests of the Syrian people".
Mr Burt said that efforts to get the Security Council to condemn Syria had so far been blocked by veto-wielding permanent members China and Russia.
But the prospects for action were improved by Moscow's decision to voice concern about the loss of life in Hama and urge Damascus to stop violence immediately.
Mr Burt told Channel 4 News: "What has been standing in the way of getting a UN resolution is the failure of the international community to coalesce in the same way it did in relation to Libya.
"There is no Arab League determination to take action against Syria, key players like the Chinese and particularly the Russians have been against a UN resolution.
"That may be changing. The interesting thing over the last 24 hours is that the Russians have said that they now condemn much more roundly the actions of the Syrian regime.
"We have been talking to Russia for weeks to try to persuade them to see the situation differently, because they will have more leverage than Western countries over Syria.
"What we want to see is pressure exerted so the killing stops."
Asked whether Britain wanted to see a similar international military operation in Syria to that currently taking place in Libya, Mr Burt replied: "It is in our national interest to act to seek to protect people, but you can only use the tools you have got.
"What was available in Libya was an international consensus of opinion about Gaddafi as a bad Arab leader and a bad African leader, and the determination of people to make change there.
"That is not the same in relation to Syria. The Prime Minister is entirely right to say we are concerned about human rights, but we can only use the powers we have got. We are seeking to do this, as we have done consistently since the regime first turned on its own people."
Labour welcomed the new EU sanctions. Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said: "The EU is right to upgrade targeted sanctions on Syria given the brutal events of recent days.
"European leaders must be ready to go further with sanctions if the Assad regime continues with these vicious attacks and all work together to achieve a strong response from the United Nations Security Council."