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Arming the Kurds is something the White House already is considering

As she mentioned in the first debate, Hillary Clinton said she supports arming the Kurds — something the Obama administration is considering as a way of starting on a path to defeating the Islamic State militants before his term ends.

The administration is exploring whether to provide Kurdish fighters with small arms and ammunition, not heavy equipment like anti-tank or anti-aircraft weapons.

The Kurds are considered the most effective fighters against the Islamic State. But they also are viewed with great suspicion by Turkey, which is a key U.S. ally that provides a base for planes flying to conduct airstrikes against terrorist targets inside Syria. Turkey fears the Kurds will carve out their own autonomous region, giving ideas to the Kurdish minority inside Turkey.

About 300 U.S. special ops troops are already on the ground in Syria helping train and givie advice to the Kurdish fighters in Syria. Providing them with arms for the first time could heighten tensions with Turkey even as it already is bristling over the U.S. residency of Muhammed Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish preacher who Ankara considers the guiding force behind an attempted coup this summer.

Real-time fact-checking and analysis of the 2nd 2016 presidential debate

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will meet on stage at Washington University in St. Louis at 9 p.m. Eastern.

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