Dubai: Two Syrians, aged three and five-years-old, could be the youngest couple in the world to get engaged of their own free will.
The parents of Hala, aged three and her fiancee Khalid, aged five, claim the children have consented to the match. Their story was highlighted by the local Syrian website Akes Alser, (meaning Against the Traffic) and has become the talk of the country with the families of both children being congratulated by people, both from their home town Homs, 180 kilometres north of Damascus, and, abroad.
Khalid's father, Juma told Gulf News that his young son is the only child from his marriage which lasted more than 25 years.
"My wife and I got Khalid after 20 years of marriage, in a complicated pregnancy. I vowed to have my child engaged at the age of five if he was a boy and to marry him to a women of his choice at the age of 15," he said.
"Days passed before Khalid fell in love with a three-year-old girl he met during a family trip to the sea town of Lattakia."
He added that the union is likely to interrupt their schooling. "I will bear the education expenses of both the children till they graduate," he said.
Khalid had reportedly been missing his young girlfriend after he returned with his family to Homs. He refused to return to the nursery he was attending if the little girl did not go with him.
"Khalid told me and his mother that he would like to have stayed with Hala or bring her home to Homs. The young bride seems very genuine," Juma said.
"We did not know what to do till my wife called Hala's mother and asked her opinion about the case. She said her daughter had developed similar symptoms of loneliness and the family would be happy to see them engaged."
"At that moment I remembered the vow I'd made before Khalid's birth, and decided to buy the couple rings. The family moved back to Lattakia to celebrate the engagement," he said.
Juma said all the arrangements had gone smoothly and that the couple had exchanged rings like adults.
"We know that Khalid or Hala might change their mind in the future, but what we do know at this stage is that they are very happy and talk to each other everyday. Khalid is waiting until he is 15 to marry Hala.
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