As part of our effort to highlight civilian stories, below is a conversation between Syria Deeply and a 25-year-old newlywed from Aleppo city. Married for three months, she says she moved her wedding from Aleppo to Gaziantep after a months-long barrel bombing campaign by the Syrian army made it too dangerous to gather a large group together in public – and impossible for her guests to safely traverse the roads.
They are now honeymooning in Istanbul, where they are staying with relatives who have also left Syria. As residents continue to pour out of Aleppo, she says she and her husband, 26, plan on returning to the city soon to raise a family.
When we were single, we were both living in Aleppo city. I was studying for my masters degree at Aleppo University, but stopped, because of the revolution. He was studying economics, working with his dad. They had a factory. But it stopped functioning, too, because of the revolution. His family is still in Aleppo.
We met three years ago. We were planning to have our wedding in Aleppo, but then the barrel bombing suddenly began. You couldn’t stay there, waiting for a plane [to fly overhead]. They were killing us, the civilians. That’s why we couldn’t gather our friends, our families. And it was very difficult to have our friends and family there, because of transportation issues – we are from different cities – because of checkpoints. It takes a lot of time to travel. I couldn’t wear my white dress – it would get dirty on the way.
It wasn’t very big, the dress, but it was very beautiful. There was my tiara and my veil. It was embroidered, mostly made from silk and tulle. He looked very handsome too [on the day of our wedding]. He brought me flowers.
But of course we couldn’t have our whole families there [in Gaziantep]. I have four brothers, and they couldn’t come because of checkpoints. We do not trust the government, they could arrest any young man at any checkpoint for no apparent reason. That’s very common in Syria. He has four sisters, too, and they were unable to travel from Aleppo to Gaziantep. Before the revolution, it took two hours to go from Aleppo city to Gaziantep. Now it takes about 14 hours and its very dangerous.
My mother was there with us, and a couple of friends. Not our close friends. A friend of ours hosted the wedding and did everything. It felt like home, but it wasn’t as beautiful. We are planning to do another wedding ceremony when the time is right, when we can bring our families.
Now we’re on honeymoon. It’s our third month after the wedding. We didn’t plan on coming to Istanbul, the opportunity just came up. It’s not in our tradition to take a long honeymoon. Normally it’s only two weeks.
We still can’t believe that we finally managed to get married. We want to have 15 children [laughs, jokingly]. We will try to do our best of course to establish a good environment for them. It was amazing to live in Aleppo, to be free there [without regime rule]. It could happen again. We could have an excellent house. We might even have our car back.