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Equipment, not troops being moved out of Syria: Pentagon

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Masoud Barzani leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the province's capital Arbil during a Middle East tour

The U.S. military said Friday it has started pulling equipment, but not troops, out of Syria as a first step in meeting President Donald Trump's demand for a complete military withdrawal.

Speaking in the United Arab Emirates, Mr Pompeo said he thought it would be possible to reach an agreement which would allow the Turks to defend themselves from terror threats while protecting Kurds - who have been fighting alongside U.S. troops - against the so-called Islamic State group.

"For purposes of operational security, we will not discuss specific troop movements or timelines", he added.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that the withdrawal began late Thursday. It said a convoy of about 10 armored vehicles, in addition to some trucks, pulled out from Syria's northeastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.

Trump's decision drew intense criticism that the US was abandoning its local Kurdish allies and led to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis had resigned immediately after Trump's claim in December that the Islamic State group had been defeated.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he was optimistic that a "good outcome" could be reached between Turkey and Syrian Kurdish groups, after speaking to the Turkish foreign minister.

A USA official told ABC News that in recent days military equipment has been moved out of Syria into Iraq. These include troops to provide extra security for those who are preparing to leave.

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He added Pompeo also stressed the importance that the USA places on the protection of forces, namely PYD/YPG, the Syrian offshoot of PKK terror organization.

Turkey considers many of Syria's Kurdish groups to be terrorists and has pledged to attack them.

USA airstrikes against IS in Syria began in September 2014, and ground troops moved in the following year in small numbers. Turkey views the Kurdish YPG militia, which forms the core of the SDF force, as a national security threat. But in the weeks since he gave the order, and the Pentagon began to implement it, Trump himself and members of his administration have delivered mixed messages about when the withdrawal may actually occur.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan labeled Bolton's comments unacceptable and a "grave mistake".

But shortly after, other witnesses on the ground in Syria reported seeing an influx of Western troops and equipment to parts of Aleppo province in northern Syria.

Pompeo discussed latest developments in Syria during a phone call with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on January 12.

She said that once she was asked for examining a terror group's member in Syria's Ras al-Ayn to understand whether she was pregnant or not and "when they found out that she was pregnant, they killed the woman".

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