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Christian charities working to bring 500 Syrian and Iraqi refugees to France

Syrian children stand at a fence at a refugee camp near Gaziantep, Turkey (CNS photo/Sedat Suna, EPA)

The French government and Christian charities are launching an effort to bring 500 Syrian and Iraqi refugees to France so that they don’t turn to traffickers for dangerous and illegal sea crossings.

An accord signed on Tuesday in Paris in the French presidential palace calls for the refugees to be brought from Lebanon in the coming 18 months in a project meant to be “an alternative to the death voyages in the Mediterranean”.

At the initiative of the Sant’Egidio community Catholic charity in Italy, an ecumenical alliance of Christian groups has come together to help resettle refugees in Europe.

The effort has already helped resettle hundreds of people in Italy, getting children enrolled in school and finding housing, jobs and language classes for parents.