Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Democratic Senate candidate in Illinois, dismissed concerns this week about her support of an influx of Syrian refugees by arguing that the U.S. does not accept military-aged men from Syria unless they are torture victims.

"To come to the U.S., the UN High Commission for Refugees actually selects largely families with no men of military age, and there are no men of military age in these families because the men are dead," Duckworth said Wednesday at a roundtable event hosted by the Illinois Farm Bureau.

"They're widows and orphans. And the men of military age, according to the briefings I received, who are part of the refugees who are even selected to begin the process of coming to the U.S., are those men that are torture victims and people fleeing ISIS because they've been targeted, people who are, you know, who have been translators for the U.S. military, for example," Duckworth said.

However, according to data compiled by the State Department, the U.S. has accepted more men from Syria than women in 2016 so far. Male refugees comprised 4,646 of the Syrians who came to the U.S. compared to 4,333 female refugees.

That figure included 363 Syrian men between the ages of 21 and 30 and 738 men between 31 and 40 who have entered the country in the past eight months.

A spokesman for the Duckworth campaign highlighted a November background briefing from the State Department in which unnamed officials said the agency prioritized "vulnerable" refugees in response to questions about Duckworth's comments.

"[A]s we set a priority of bringing the most vulnerable people, we're going to have female-headed households with a lot of children, and we're going to have extended families that are maybe missing the person who used to be the top breadwinner but have several generations – grandparents, a widowed mother, and children," the State Department briefing said.

Duckworth's position on how to address the Syrian refugee crisis became a flashpoint in the Illinois Senate race this summer after her Republican rival, Sen. Mark Kirk, began running a television ad that attacked her for supposedly supporting the acceptance of 200,000 Syrians.

The Duckworth campaign has denied that she meant she supported bringing 200,000 refugees to the U.S. in the footage of her saying so that is featured in Kirk's ad. Her staff told Washington Post fact-checkers that the context provided by the rest of the footage makes clear Duckworth was arguing the government should welcome 100,000 refugees instead.

Kirk, one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the Senate, has used the uncertainty over President Obama's push to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees this year as a central issue in his campaign.

The Illinois Republican has criticized the administration over what he has characterized as an inadequate system for vetting refugees.

A spate of terror attacks inspired by the Islamic State in Paris, San Bernardino, Calif., Orlando and beyond have heightened concerns that extremists could enter the U.S. by posing as refugee.