Pope Francis has called for an urgent end to the bloody civil war in Syria, as he arrived in Jordan on Saturday to begin a three-day Middle East tour.
In an opening speech, the pope encouraged Jordanian officials to continue to seek lasting peace for the entire region. He said that goal "urgently" requires a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria, as well as a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Pope Francis later held talks with Jordanian King Abdullah and held mass at a stadium in Amman. He was to also hear first-hand accounts of the suffering of Syrian refugees.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in the fighting in Syria and millions have fled to neighboring countries. About 600,000 of the refugees have escaped to Jordan.
On Sunday, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church will travel to Bethlehem. He will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before lunching with Palestinian families in a refugee camp.
Pope Francis will visit the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday and will meet with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Hussein. He will also go to Israel's national cemetery on Mount Herzl and to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
Pope Francis is also scheduled to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.