Khalid arrived with his family four years ago, and Fatheya came this year, four months ago, they got engaged
A young couple who fled the brutal civil war in Syria got married on last Friday in Jordan, far away from where they grew up.
Ahmad Khalid and Fatheya Mohammed, both 21 years of age, had runaway from Hasakah in northeastern Syria.
Khalid arrived with his family four years ago, and Fatheya came this year. Four months ago, they got engaged. And on Friday, in a settlement of about seven tents nestling between Syria's southern border and the northern Jordanian city of Mafraq, relatives and friends gathered to mark the couple's union as their country continues to fracture.
According to an account by a chief photographer at the Associated Press who was present, the wedding was "very humble and low-profile."
Photographer Muhammed Muheisen, spoke with the groom as he finished getting ready with the help of a friend. Earlier, Khalid had asked for his mother's blessing.
Khalid wore a pink shirt and a striped tie. There was a slight burn on the shirt's right sleeve, the result of an old iron that burned the fabric. Muheisen said there wasn't much talking between the two friends, "but I could see that they were both very excited.”
Once he was dressed, Khalid left in a four-car convoy to bring Mohammed back from a nearby salon to the settlement, where they were greeted by relatives and friends. They walked out of the car to a tent decorated with a blanket. Behind the tent, women were cooking chicken and stew.
They sat on chairs outside as about 20 close family members and 40 other guests gathered around them. People then came to congratulate the newlyweds, saying, "Mabrook, mabrook." There was dancing and singing, with traditional Syrian music flowing from a small speaker nearby.
“He was so happy. She was so shy, and she looked kind of lost,” Muheisen recalled. The photographer spoke with her briefly; she kept mostly to herself. “I think she was hoping for something different,” Muheisen said, like a big traditional celebration with family and friends.
He didn’t pry, as it was an intimate affair. They invited him to dinner, but he politely declined. It was getting late and the roads back to Amman, the Jordanian capital, would get dark soon. Before he left, he watched people pin modest Jordanian bills to the groom’s shirt and the bride’s rented dress. “It was very, very humble,” he said.
On the drive back, Muheisen replayed the afternoon's events in his mind. The newlyweds were happy, but it wasn't "complete," he thought. "There was something missing — the stability.” Maybe that would come with time.
Around then, he remembered something the groom had told him. “I wish things were different,” he recalled Khalid saying, “but at least we are having our wedding. At least we are doing something.”