Brad Pitt with Angelina Jolie at al-Bzouria Souk in Damascus' old downtown, during a visit to Syria October 2, 2009. Credit: REUTERS /Khaled al-Hariri /Landov

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt met with two Iraqi families in the Syrian capital, Damascus, Friday.

One of the women Jolie -- a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN refugee agency -- met, Hoda, had been kidnapped alongside her son and assaulted. She was eventually released after her family paid $40,000 ransom.

"I'm grateful to you for sharing this story," said an emotional Jolie while clutching Hoda's hand. "It helps to make it easier to understand your problems. There's a lot of suffering in this part of the world; you're a very brave and strong woman for putting this behind you for the sake of your children."


Jolie, 34, and Pitt, 45, also visited a couple and their five children at their one-bedroom basement apartment. The father, Taha, had been kidnapped and tortured.

During the day-long visit, Jolie also met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife, Asma al-Assad, to discuss the country's efforts to provide health care and an education to refugee children.

"It is clear that the Syrian people, no matter the challenges or difficulties they may face, have always shown generous hospitality to people in need. I hope that the rest of the world recognizes that we all have to share this burden and continue to take care of Iraqi refugees," Jolie announced after the meeting.

Jolie last visited Syria in 2007.