Europe

Questions remain about specifics of US policy toward Syria

  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the G7 countries in Lucca, Italy, Monday, April 10, 2017. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are gathering in Lucca for a meeting given urgency by the chemical attack in Syria and the U.S. military response, with participants aiming to pressure Russia to end its support for President Bashar Assad. (Riccardo Dalle Luche/ANSA via AP)

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the G7 countries in Lucca, Italy, Monday, April 10, 2017. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are gathering in Lucca for a meeting given urgency by the chemical attack in Syria and the U.S. military response, with participants aiming to pressure Russia to end its support for President Bashar Assad. (Riccardo Dalle Luche/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • From right: Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and France Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, stand by the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto by sculptor Jacopo della Quercia, during their visit at the Lucca's Cathedral in Lucca, Italy, Monday, April 10, 2017. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are gathering in Lucca for a meeting given urgency by the chemical attack in Syria and the U.S. military response, with participants aiming to pressure Russia to end its support for President Bashar Assad. (Riccardo Dalle Luche/ANSA via AP)

    From right: Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and France Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, stand by the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto by sculptor Jacopo della Quercia, during their visit at the Lucca's Cathedral in Lucca, Italy, Monday, April 10, 2017. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are gathering in Lucca for a meeting given urgency by the chemical attack in Syria and the U.S. military response, with participants aiming to pressure Russia to end its support for President Bashar Assad. (Riccardo Dalle Luche/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, and Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, left, speak to the media after laying a wreath at a memorial in Santa' Anna di Stazzema, a site of Nazi atrocities where 560 civilians, including some 130 children, were killed during World War II, Monday, April 10, 2017. Tillerson said Monday that the United States is rededicating itself to hold to account "any and all" who commit crimes against innocent people. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are gathering in Lucca for a meeting given urgency by the chemical attack in Syria and the U.S. military response, with participants aiming to pressure Russia to end its support for President Bashar Assad. (Riccardo Dalle Luche/ANSA via AP)

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, and Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, left, speak to the media after laying a wreath at a memorial in Santa' Anna di Stazzema, a site of Nazi atrocities where 560 civilians, including some 130 children, were killed during World War II, Monday, April 10, 2017. Tillerson said Monday that the United States is rededicating itself to hold to account "any and all" who commit crimes against innocent people. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are gathering in Lucca for a meeting given urgency by the chemical attack in Syria and the U.S. military response, with participants aiming to pressure Russia to end its support for President Bashar Assad. (Riccardo Dalle Luche/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. allies appear to be moving ahead with their own policies for dealing with Syria after attempts by top Trump administration officials to articulate a plan leave key questions unresolved.

The attention on Syria comes in the wake of U.S. missile strikes on President Bashar Assad's military.

Left unclear in spite of American officials' statements is whether Assad must relinquish power, how displaced Syrians would be protected and when the U.S. might feel compelled to take further action.

President Donald Trump ordered the strikes last week in reaction to Assad's use of chemical weapons.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has raised fresh expectations for aggressive U.S. action in Syria and elsewhere. Yet Trump has consistently indicated he prefers not pursuing a more interventionist foreign policy on preventing atrocities.