Some 50 Christian families fleeing war in Syria have arrived in Poland to begin new lives.

A chartered plane from Beirut carrying about 150 refugees landed in Warsaw late Friday. The Syrians are being taken to a hotel, and within days they will begin the process of requesting asylum and being placed in housing.

Poland's decision to take in the refugees, who hail mostly from Damascus and other cities, is a humanitarian gesture by predominantly Catholic Poland in the face of a massive humanitarian crisis in Syria.

However, the decision to accept only Christians for now has faced some criticism as being discriminatory against Muslims.

Separately, Poland is also considering accepting 2,000 refugees from Africa and the Middle East as part of a larger European Union resettlement plan.