Against the backdrop of constant skirmishes, bombings and continued dismantling of chemical weapons, the Assad regime spared the time to celebrate its soldiers' happiest day in their lives – their wedding day.
Last weekend, the state body "The Syrian
Casualty-of-War," together with the Homs Governor's Office and the Propaganda Ministry threw a festive ceremony for several soldiers and their chosen ones in the largest hotel in the district.
The grooms in full army regalia and the white-clad wives were wed in a hall chock-full of white blossoms, at the center of which the portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad was proudly hoisted.
Newly-weds with Assad portrait in background (Photo: EPA)
"This group wedding is a sign of our appreciation to the armed forces and for our gratitude to them," said The Syrian Casualty of War director to the official Syrian news agency. Other regime-affiliated media also gave comprehensive coverage to the event, terming it a "message of love and tolerance, proof that the homeland is recuperating."
Syrian and Arab media affiliated with the opposition were unanimously enraged by the event. Commenting on a photograph showing couples cutting a seven-tiered wedding cake with a sword, one editorial bitterly remarked the luxurious cake was cut "while more than 70% of Syrians are living in harsh humanitarian conditions, in poverty."
Cutting the cake (Photo: EPA)
A Syrian opposition website described the event as an "ostentatious wedding ceremony by Syrian regime soldiers in a Homs hotel under the shadow of the massacres."
However, Mohamed al-Issa, a member of the ruling party, the Baath, claimed the grooms are heroes, blocking the attempts of "armed terrorists and traitors" to "destroy the homeland."
"Through the group wedding, the heroes bring joy to the people and help build the future," al-Issa said.
Deputy Head of the Homs Executive Office, Damar al-Ali, added that such events prove the regime is making headway toward victory. "The proof is that the ceremony is held inside the city of Homs," he explained.
Homs, a former rebel stronghold, has been caught in a bloody stalemate between opposition and regime forces since a major operation was launched by Assad in February 2012 to regain control of the city.
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