In the heart of Aleppo, besieged by Syrian troops for more than five weeks, a young couple who found love in a time of war exchange vows.
Bombs dropped in the distance, but for a moment, those attending the modest wedding ceremony in the Saif al-Dawla neighborhood of Syria’s second city were able to forget about the bloody conflict.
The marriage was between rebel sniper Abu Khaled and Hanan, the nurse who treated his leg wound.
The 20-year-old remembers falling in love with Hanan “at first sight.”
“I saw her at the Coneta school first-aid point. From first sight, I loved her. Then I got shot in my leg and she was cleaning my wounds everyday and, day by day, I know her better and love her more,” said Abu Khaled, his beard closely trimmed.
His account of the beginning of their love evokes a smile from his bride, who blushes under her make-up.
“When we met there was something in the air,” said the 23-year-old woman, whose wedding attire amounted to a white scarf and her nursing blouse.
When Hanan lost her brother in the bloody violence that has roiled Syria since March last year, Abu Khaled began to support her.
“[Our love] became stronger when my brother was killed,” the nurse said, sitting beside Abu Khaled, who wears a military jacket with many pockets.
“He is a revolutionary sniper!” she said, smiling again.