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Pope Francis heads to Greek island of Lesbos

Rome: Pope Francis left Rome on Saturday bound for the Greek island of Lesbos, on the frontline of Europe`s migrant crisis.

Francis, 79, took off from Rome`s Fiumicino airport at 7:20am (05h20 GMT) for the island, where hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers and other migrants have arrived in recent months.

In a move bound to turn the spotlight on Europe`s controversial deal with Turkey to end the unprecedented refugee crisis, the pontiff will visit a processing centre which has been slammed as prison-like by rights groups.

His five-hour stay will also include lunch with a handful of asylum-seekers in one of the adapted containers used to accommodate them.