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.



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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