Pope Francis returns to Vatican with Syrian refugees

Pope Francis returns to Vatican with Syrian refugees

Pope Francis arrived in the Vatican today, April 16 with 12 Syrian migrants after visiting a camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.

Pope Francis returns to Vatican with Syrian refugees

Pope Francis holding a baby from one of the 3 Syrian families he returned to the Vatican with families (Photo by the WallStreet Journal)

The Pope traveled to the front lines of the migration crisis Saturday, visiting Lesbos which has become the focal point of Europe’s hardened stance toward the new arrivals. He returned to the Vatican with three Syrian families, onboard the papal jet.

Thousands of migrants are now stuck on Lesbos after last month's EU-Turkey deal to try to ease the flow. All of those leaving with the Pope were already living on Lesbos before the deal was implemented, the Vatican said.

Pope Francis returns to Vatican with Syrian refugees

Some reactions on the Pope's gesture on Twitter

Under the EU-Turkey agreement, migrants arriving illegally on the Greek islands from Turkey after  March 20 will be deported unless they successfully claim for asylum. In return, for every Syrian returned to Turkey, the EU will take another Syrian directly from Turkey.

About 3,000 people are being held in the camp on Lesbos, some of whom lined the streets with banners pleading for help as the Pope arrived.

In a visit to the Greek island of Lesbos, the pope challenged leaders to respond to migrants in a way worthy of our common humanity and pointedly called for Europe to remember its roots as the homeland of human rights.

 

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