In some regions in Syria, habits and traditions have been major reasons behind depriving Syrian women of their basic rights. In addition, these traditions contributed in marginalizing females and deepened their sufferings. Underage marriage has been one of the prominent negative traditions which have made women shoulder extra burdens.
A 18-year-old female known by her initials as A. M. who divorced from her husband, who was two years older, due to repeated family problems. The young lady told SOHR that she is from Sahal Al-Ghab region in west Hama countryside and was married under pressure by her family. Her marriage continued for nearly two months and a half but problems took the relation to a deadlock.
A. M. explained several reasons behind her divorce, including the fact that her ex-husband was not able to bear the responsibility of marriage and he always depended on his father for financial support, even her pocket money. In addition, her husband used to leave her in the house alone, deal with her rigidly and force her to work.
A. M. was married at a young age without having enough knowledge about marriage responsibilities or inability to endure psychological pressures.
The young lady pointed out that she was “no more eligible for new marriage” according to the obsolete habits and traditions in her region, adding that her life has changed after divorce which she was blamed for. She also does not have the right to choose a suitable partner because her family impose strict restrictions on her.
A. M. stresses that women in rural areas, especially in Hama countryside, are totally ignored and many are deprived of inheritance, education and working in preferable fields, as well as imposition of unfair laws under pretext of “respecting habits and traditions”.
Another woman known as K. M. from Al-Kasrah town in Deir Ezzor countryside said to SOHR, “I was forced by my family to marry my cousin when I was 14, as I left my school after ISIS controlled the area.”
K. M. added that she was shocked of the new life that was completely different from that in her father’s house, explaining that it was difficult to cope with the big responsibilities of early marriage, which finally led to her divorce after only two years and after she had a baby.
K. M. added she was not the only woman suffered unfair habits and traditions, as many young females fell victims to oppressing norms and have become mothers and divorced at early age because they were not able to bear responsibility of early marriage.
Meanwhile, a young lady known by her initials as Z. D. who was displaced from west Dier Ezzor countryside told SOHR that she was married at the age of 16 under pressure by her family due to their hard living conditions adding that her father has been no longer able to secure the essentials for the six-member family and opted to get her married to alleviate life burdens.
Z. D. said that she did not prefer to get divorced, despite the responsibilities and psychological pressures she endured. Besides, she is now a mother of two kids. Accordingly, the woman opted to complete the relation and attempted hard to be patient and not to abandon her kids.
The young mother hopes to secure dignified life stressing she is against the idea of ”forced marriage”, and intends not to make her children go through the same bitter experience.
It is worth noting that obsolete habits and traditions in some Syrian areas especially in rural areas and Al-Jazira region, inhabited mostly by tribes, have contributed to deprive the Syrian women of many of their rights; an issue that was not new but has been mounting in light of the Syrian ongoing events and their repercussions such as displacement and worsening living conditions.