Vatican City, Apr 16, 2016 / 05:30 am
After traveling to the Greek island of Lesbos, a primary entry point for refugees seeking passage into Europe, Pope Francis decided to bring 12 of them on his plane back to the Vatican as an act of welcome and solidarity.
"The Pope has desired to make a gesture of welcome regarding refugees, accompanying on his plane to Rome three families of refugees," an April 16 communique from the Vatican read.
Coming from Syria, all of the families are Muslim and number 12 people in total, including six children. Two of the families are from Damascus, and one is from Deir Azzor, which is now territory occupied ISIS. Their homes had been bombed.
According to the AFP news agency, an official of Greece's state refugee coordination agency said the families were all staying in the open camp of Kara Tepe on Lesbos, and were selected through a drawing.