Tue 14 Jul 2020

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Why some men refuse to get married in Daraa 

A wedding ceremony in the city of al-Sanamayn in Daraa Governorate, southern Syria- 4 June 2020 - (Facebook)

A wedding ceremony in the city of al-Sanamayn in Daraa Governorate, southern Syria- 4 June 2020 - (Facebook)

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Enab Baladi – Daraa

“The main reason to hold off on getting married is that I do not have my own house,” Nabil Muhammad told the correspondent of Enab Baladi in the city of Daraa, in southern Syria.

Thirty-year-old Muhammad is determined to marry after buying a house, where he can form his own family due to considerations of independence in personal life and avoid family conflicts. 

In light of Syria’s economic and financial crisis, which led to the depreciation of the Syrian pound and the economic downturn, Muhammad becomes unable to get what he wants, like most of the city’s young men. 

Since the Syrian regime forces retook control of Daraa in July 2018, young people have to perform compulsory military service; something that prevents young people from working and improving standards of living to meet marriage requirements imposed by the traditions of the community in which they live.

Fear of unknown

Most young men of Daraa hesitate to tie the knot, owning to the economic and political uncertainties and security concerns in the region. Moreover, there is a constant fear among young men of launching new military operations, which will result in further recruitment, as well as there are no civil or military authorities that impose their influence and restore stability and security in the whole province. 

Muhammad Saeed, aged 25, told Enab Baladi that he could not get married, because he is wanted for military service, and his fate is unknown: Whether to get arrested or join the ranks of the Syrian regime forces, an obsession that Saeed suffers on a daily basis.

In the meantime, the security tension in Daraa results in adverse psychological effects among young men in the city, according to what Yassin Qaddah told Enab Baladi, a former employee of an international organization that was operating in the area during the control of the Syrian opposition factions.

Qaddah added that most houses in the eastern region of Daraa were subjected to a military campaign in July 2018, during which household items and furniture were stolen. Consequently, people in the eastern region had to buy new furniture at high costs, which exhausted them financially.

The burden of customs and traditions

In addition to the deterioration of the economic situation, customs and traditions exacerbate the suffering of young men and reduce their desire to get married, as the marriage expenses are divided according to traditions into paid and deferred dowry agreed upon between the two parties to the marriage contract.

Dowries and wedding costs have increased due to the devaluation of the Syrian pound during the past few months.

According to what Enab Baladi monitored during meetings with young men in Daraa, the paid dowry is the sums of money that are spent on equipping the marital home, which varies between bedroom furniture, costs of the bride’s hair and makeup, electrical devices, and kitchen appliances…etc. On the other hand, the deferred mahr [dowry]  is the money paid by the husband to wife at divorce.  

“Extraordinary” requests

Ahmad al-Ammar, a master’s student in psychology, told Enab Baladi that the demands of the bride’s family are sometimes “difficult to meet”, not commensurate with the difficulty of living at present, noting the customs and traditions that affect the desire of young men to marry, such as requesting the vast amounts of gold for the bride.

According to the correspondent of Enab Baladi in Daraa, some families refuse to provide gold to the bride due to its high price, while most of the people in the region consider it a right and a guarantee for the bride.

Years ago, the dowry in Daraa was no more than 100,000 Syrian pounds (SYP- 2,127 USD), according to what was reported by Enab Baladi’s correspondent in the region. However, at present, the price of the “bedroom furniture” only reaches 2 million SYP (792 USD) in addition to that, the prices of electrical appliances, which are essential items for the marital home, have gone up dramatically. 

All these factors together adversely affected al-Ammar’s decision to marry, as well as for Nabil Muhammad, who hopes that some customs and traditions in the region will change to take into account the financial situation of young people, in light of the economic situation and the deteriorating living reality.

 

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