Escaping Death in Syria and Marrying in Lesvos



    Mohammed and Roukia marital ceremony. Source: stonisi.gr

    The love story between Roukia and Mohammed, both Kurdish refugees from Syria, provides hope in the bitterness that looms over the refugee crisis.

    The life of Roukia and Mohammed resembles a fairytale. From escaping death in Afrin, Syria till Thursday when they tied the knot in the Hospitality Center for Refugees and Migrants Mavrovouni (Kara Tepe) of the Municipality of Lesvos.

    Kara Tepe is a refugee camp that provides temporary housing to asylum seekers as they wait for their registration process.

    Dolled up for her wedding. Source: stonisi.gr

    However, this fairy-tale is another true story of the many that have taken place on Lesvos in recent years, with refugees as the protagonists from the fronts of the War in the Middle East.

    The two love birds from northern Syria did not know each other in Afrin where they resided. Runaways from their own town after Erdogan’s “Operation Olive Branch”, which is a cross-border operation that is perpetrated by the Turkish Armed Forces, and has Syrian Arab and Turkmen Militias as allies on the Kurdish Afrin District, north of Syria. The uprising began on March 18th 2018.

    Roukia and Mohammed left with their families in the winter of 2017-2018 and started their journey to Lesvos, Greece. They first met at the Moria Refugee camp, and parted ways in May 2018 during the conflicts between the Kurds and the Arab residents of the camp. Around 950 Kurdish refugees fled the Moria Camp.

    They fell in love in Larsos camp, near Geras bay, and Mohammed asked Zacharia (Roukia’s father) for his daughter’s hand in marriage three times before her father finally accepted.

    Last night they were married in their “village”, as they call the hospitality center of Kara Tepe. All their “fellow villagers”, more than 1000 refugees from the Middle East attended the wedding, as well as Greek and European workers in the center.

    Celebration of Love. Source: stonisi.gr

    The ceremony of Roukia, 18, and Mohammed, 26, was filled with joy, dance, a hairdresser in one of the containers, a bridal and grooming suit taken care of by Stavros Myrogiannis, the Center’s Manager, along with the car that carried the bride, with honking and dozens of kids running behind it.

    Getting ready for her big day. Source: stonisi.gr

    The formal ceremony took place in an amphitheater decorated in accordance with the Kurdish customs and traditions, escorted by non-stop feast.

    They wish to live in another European country whenever it was time to leave Lesvos “and why not return home one day.”

    Decorations. Source: stonisi.gr