All the Pope's Syrian families had fled the bombing in warzone
The Vatican says the three Syrian families coming to Italy aboard Pope Francis's plane had all fled their homes after they were bombed.
Two of the families hail from the Syrian capital of Damascus. The third family fled Deir el-Zour, a city close to the Iraqi border that is contested between Isil and the Syrian government. Islamic State extremists have been besieging government-held parts of Deir el-Zour for months, leading to malnutrition among 200,000 people living in the area. The UN has airdropped food several times to help those who stayed in the area.
The Vatican said the Syrians, who were in camps on the Greek island of Lesbos and include six children, were brought to the Vatican after talks with Greece and Italy, and that the Holy See would take responsibility for them.
The Vatican is already hosting two refugee families, and Francis has encouraged every parish around the globe to take in a refugee family.