150 Syrian Christian refugees arrive in Poland
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150 Syrian Christian refugees arrive in Poland

Flight from Beirut with some 50 families lands in Warsaw while government weighs absorbing 2,000 refugees from Africa, Middle East

Members of the Syrian National Defense Forces (NDF) stand behind a statue of Virgin Mary perched on the cliffs overlooking the ancient Christian town of Maalula, 56 kilometers northeast of the Syrian capital Damascus, on June 13, 2015 after the statue was restored to its original place. (AFP PHOTO / LOUAI BESHARA)
Members of the Syrian National Defense Forces (NDF) stand behind a statue of Virgin Mary perched on the cliffs overlooking the ancient Christian town of Maalula, 56 kilometers northeast of the Syrian capital Damascus, on June 13, 2015 after the statue was restored to its original place. (AFP PHOTO / LOUAI BESHARA)

Some 50 Christian families fleeing war in Syria have arrived in Poland to begin new lives.

A chartered plane from Beirut carrying about 150 refugees landed in Warsaw late Friday. The Syrians are being taken to a hotel, and within days they will begin the process of requesting asylum and being placed in housing.

A few spoke to reporters, but they refused to be photographed or filmed, fearful of putting loved ones back home at more risk.

Poland’s decision to take in the refugees, who hail mostly from Damascus and other cities, is a humanitarian gesture by predominantly Catholic Poland in the face of a massive humanitarian crisis in Syria.

However, the decision to accept only Christians for now has faced some criticism as being discriminatory against Muslims.

Separately, Poland is also considering accepting 2,000 refugees from Africa and the Middle East as part of a larger European Union resettlement plan.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

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