Young men turn away from marriage due to high dowries in Ras al-Ain

Syrian youth face difficulties in affording the costs of marriage in Ras al-Ain - May 15, 2024 (Enab Baladi)

Syrian youth face difficulties in affording the costs of marriage in Ras al-Ain - May 15, 2024 (Enab Baladi)


Enab Baladi – Ras al-Ain

The love story of Hussam al-Fayyad (28 years old), from the village of al-Rawiya west of Ras al-Ain, ended after the girl’s family he loved asked for a dowry worth $2,500, in addition to the costs of fully furnishing the house.

He explained that the region’s economic conditions do not help at all in collecting this dowry, as there are no high-income jobs available to save up for marriage costs.

Young men in the city of Ras al-Ain, northwest of al-Hasakah, face challenges in securing the costs of marriage, including housing, jewelry, dowry, as well as the wedding preparations and its expenses.

These challenges become more complicated with high unemployment rates, low income levels, and shrinking job opportunities in a region that depends on a single sector for income, agriculture, prompting young men to postpone the idea of marriage.

Dowry in dollars

Most families in Ras al-Ain insist on recording their daughters’ dowries in US dollars, following the depreciation of the Syrian pound, where every 15,000 pounds are equivalent to one US dollar.

Economic difficulties are compounded by others linked to customs and traditions, as some families still believe that an easy marriage (without costs) can lead to easy separation and divorce.

Al-Fayyad said that Ras al-Ain depends on agriculture, and previously when the crops were harvested, young people would get married. However, with the decline in agricultural returns, it has become impossible to meet the girl’s family’s demands.

He pointed to the need for families to understand the situations of young people in Ras al-Ain, and to facilitate marriage matters for them by requesting costs and dowries suitable for the economic and living situation.

Daily wages range between 30,000 and 40,000 Syrian pounds (about two and a half dollars), varying according to the number of working hours and the type of profession, whether it be agriculture or construction.

No thoughts of marriage

Ibrahim al-Sultan (35 years old) has not considered marriage yet due to the lack of necessary funds. He explained that he works on his motorcycle to deliver orders, and his daily wage does not exceed 50,000 Syrian pounds, barely enough for his personal daily expenses.

He told Enab Baladi that the smallest dowry for a girl in the area reaches $1,500 US dollars, excluding other expenses such as the bedroom furniture, which costs up to $500 US dollars, and gold, the wedding dress, among other costs.

He mentioned that he has completely canceled the idea of marriage and is currently trying to cross irregularly to Turkey to work, then head to Europe in search of a better future.

“Suitable” dowry

Despite the high costs of marriage and some families complicating the conditions of marrying off their daughters, there are families that take into consideration the young men’s situations and the current economic challenges, overlooking customs.

Some families are satisfied with accepting a wedding ring instead of gold, asking for a reasonable dowry suitable for the young man’s situation, and buying used furniture to reduce costs.

Marwan al-Younis (55 years old), residing in the city of Ras al-Ain, agreed to marry off his daughter about two months ago with a “suitable” dowry, without any complications or additional financial burdens on the young man (his son-in-law).

He said to Enab Baladi, that he wished to lessen the burden on the young man, given that he comes from a well-reputed and educated family, and he settled for a deferred dowry of 10 grams of gold.

He added that Ras al-Ain is experiencing exceptional circumstances that differ from other areas in Syria, as the area is confined and surrounded by front lines with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and job opportunities are insufficient to meet a family’s needs for a week.

The fifty-something-year-old highlighted the need for families in Ras al-Ain to abandon old customs and heavy demands that burden the youth and hinder their marriage.

35% Avoid marriage

The director of the Social Services Office in Ras al-Ain, Intisar Douda, told Enab Baladi that the rate of avoiding marriage has reached 35% over the past five years in the area.

She explained that the main reasons are due to the exhausting demands by the girl’s family from the young man, including conditions that are considered difficult such as the requirements for private housing and the expensive dowry that usually does not drop below $3,000 US dollars.

She added that the Social Services Center has conducted several awareness sessions with families and seminars to facilitate the marriage of young people in the area, given the lack of young men fit for marriage due to their migration to Europe and Turkey in search of better opportunities.

She mentioned that the center is in contact with organizations and associations to provide grants for young people wishing to marry and who face financial difficulties, noting that the siege imposed on the area has pushed youth to consider migration in search of job opportunities and a better life.

The residents of Ras al-Ain strive to find job opportunities that can provide them with a stable income, along with relying on agriculture as a main source, and their number is about 115,000 people.


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