What the photographer has to say about these images of a wedding in war-torn Syria

Jafar Meray says the photographs show 'life goes on'

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The Independent Online

A Syrian photographer has described capturing his friend’s wedding in war-torn Homs as an “image of hope” in the country’s long civil war.

The images show a soldier in the Syrian Army and his new wife, a university student wearing a white gown, stood before the bombed buildings of the old town in Homs, which was besieged for three years until the opposition fell back in 2014.

An avowed supporter of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, photographer Jafar Meray told The Independent he took the photographs “as evidence that life goes on”.

The 22-year-old said he had been a professional photographer for around a year, working to show “through pictures the sad reality… of what we suffer from the destruction and terror of Syria”.

Jafar Meray posted a selfie with the couple on his Facebook page
The photographer said the images showed 'life goes on' in Syria despite the war (C/O: Jafar Meray)

Meray said the couple had chosen rubble and destruction as the background for their wedding pictures, and said he wanted to “spread hope”.

“My message as a Syrian citizen is to stop injustice and terrorism everywhere and spread love and peace, because my country and all countries suffer from terrorism.”

Once dubbed “the capital of the revolution”, Homs saw the withdrawal of opposition fighters from its last rebel-held neighbourhood earlier this month.

Government shelling and rebel car bombs have torn the city apart for the better part of five years, devastating what was once a major industrial centre. Thousands of civilians were killed.

The last rebels agreed to leave on 9 December as part of a UN-brokered ceasefire. In return, the city’s residents will receive access to much-needed humanitarian assistance.

And while Homs has now fallen completely under regime control, Russian bombing raids continue against rebel positions in the wider Homs province.

Russia’s defence ministry said on Wednesday that its air force struck 424 targets at the start of this week, with air strikes spanning a range of provinces.