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Pope prays for Syria and Libya peace as he praises help for refugees

Pope Francis is praying that recent UN-backed peace agreements for Syria and Libya will quickly end the suffering of their people while praising the generosity of those countries that have taken in their refugees.

Speaking from the loggia of St Peter's Basilica in Rome, Francis issued a Christmas Day peace appeal for a world torn by war, poverty and extremist attacks. The sun-soaked St. Peter's Square was under heavy security, as it has been since the November 13 Paris attacks.

Francis referred to the "brutal acts of terrorism" that struck the French capital this year as well as conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine.

He says "only God's mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst".

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