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By Philip Pullella OSWIECIM, Poland (Reuters) - Hunched on a bench near the gate to the Auschwitz death camp site in Poland, Pope Francis prayed silently on Friday in tribute to 1.5 million people, most of them Jews, gassed there by Nazi occupiers during World War Two. Marking the third day of his trip to Poland for an international gathering of Catholic youth, Francis spent a few minutes speaking quietly and exchanging gifts with about 12 Auschwitz survivors, including a 101-year-old woman. One of the male survivors gave the pope a picture of himself surrounded by other inmates in a bunk, and asked Francis to sign it.
Aid agencies called Friday on Syria's government to end its encirclement of rebel-held east Aleppo as a handful of civilians managed to use humanitarian corridors to flee the ruined city. Pro-regime forces have surrounded Aleppo's eastern districts since July 17, leaving an estimated 250,000 trapped without reliable access to food or medical aid. Russia, a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad, on Thursday announced the opening of humanitarian passages for civilians and surrendering fighters seeking to exit the city's rebel-held eastern neighbourhoods.