War-time secret weighs on hopeful Syrian bride

Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:55am EDT
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DAMASCUS (Reuters) - A young Syrian woman hides a secret from all but her family and closest friends, knowing that within days she will have to share it with the man she hopes to wed.

Late last year the 32-year-old woman was seized by security forces in the heart of Damascus and held for several weeks after trying to deliver supplies to civilians trapped in rebel-held areas of the Syrian capital.

Now free, she is hoping to put the ordeal behind her and get married, and has started meeting potential suitors.

But Syria's three-year-old conflict intrudes in all walks of life. The young woman and her mother, fearing that news of her arrest might put those suitors off, do not know how to break the news to a future husband.

"We have to tell him about my detention before or during the next visit. It's the right thing to do," says the woman, who asked to be identified only as Mai, to protect her identity.

Her mother agrees, but fears that the stigma of detention might affect her daughter's prospects.

"I just feel awkward about it," says the mother. "My daughter was in detention. That isn't a statement I ever thought would come out of my mouth."