Sept. 14 - Pope Benedict visits Lebanon amid Syria conflict to deliver a message of peace and unity to the region. Sunita Rappai reports.
Pope Benedict arrives in Lebanon on Friday - bringing a message of peace to a region torn apart by sectarian tension. The 85-year-old pontiff, on his fourth trip to the Middle East, was greeted by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and other senior officials at the airport. He is expected to stress unity among different Christian churches as well as between Christians and Muslims. His message will be aimed especially at neighbouring Syria, where opposition groups say more than 27000 people have been killed in an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. Security was tight along Beirut's main streets in the run-up to the Pope's arrival for the three day trip. Most groups however are optimistic about the visit, with even militant Shi'ite movement Hezbollah hanging banners welcoming him. Palestinian Christians in this refugee camp in Beirut were also hopeful. This woman says the Pope had arrived to make peace and love and help bridge the divide between Muslims and Christians. During his visit, Benedict will hold two major open air events in the city as he also urges Christians not to leave the region. Christians now make up just 5 percent of the Middle Eastern population -down from 20 percent a century ago.