AMMAN - Pope Francis called for urgent steps to end Syria's three-year-old civil war as he arrived in neighboring Jordan on Saturday, starting a Middle East trip aimed at bringing hope to the region's dwindling Christian population.



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Addressing Jordan's King Abdullah at the start of his first visit as pope to the Holy Land, Francis praised the Western-backed kingdom for its efforts to "to seek lasting peace for the entire region".



"This great goal urgently requires that a peaceful solution be found to the crisis in Syria, as well as a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," he said.

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