The Archbishop of Canterbury has prayed at the River Jordan as part of a Middle East tour in which he met Iraqi Christian refugees.

The Most Revd Justin Welby led prayers at the Bethany Beyond The Jordan archaeological site, believed to be the place where John the Baptist baptised Jesus of Nazareth.

He called for greater support for those in need, saying: “In this place where we hear birdsong and running water we are surrounded, within a few kilometers (miles), with violence.”

The Middle East is home to the oldest Christian communities in the world, but large numbers have fled in recent years to escape war and Islamic extremism.

The Archbishop was expected to visit Israel later in the day.