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PHOTOS: Syrian Couple Stage Wedding Photo Shoot in Ruins of War-Torn Homs

Newlyweds Nada Merhi, 18, and Hassan Youssef, 27, chose the ruins of Homs, Syria, as the backdrop of their wedding photos.

Couples often choose breathtaking landscapes for their photos. Merhi and Youssef picked Homs “to show that life is stronger than death.”

Located 100 miles north of Damascus, Homs once boasted 600,000 residents and grew to become Syria’s third-largest city. Homs received the nickname the “capital of the revolution” when the country dived into civil war five years ago. Constant air assaults on the city have left Homs a shell of its former self.

Agence France-Presse’s Joseph Eid followed the couple and their photographer Jafar Meray around the town.

Meray took wedding photos in Homs late last year. He captions the photos as love in war.

A couple held their wedding in St. George’s Church in Homs last July. Attacks took off the church’s roof and ruined the majority of the building.

The Washington Post reports:

Although Merhi and Youssef’s wedding photos may suggest that life in Syria can come close to normality, they are far from free of the complexity and divisiveness of the war. Youssef wears a military uniform in the photographs. He is a soldier in the Syrian army — the same force that helped destroy Homs with years of airstrikes, artillery attacks, and mortar and rocket fire aimed at the occupying rebel groups.

The rebels abandoned Homs in late 2015. The government retook control of the destroyed city.

Drone footage captured the damage in Homs.

Small blips of life appear in the footage. The video shows a few boys playing outside while a white sedan drives down a once-busy street.

The BBC reported the city lies in a “fertile agricultural region along the Orontes river valley at the eastern end of the Homs Gap – the only natural gateway from Syria’s Mediterranean coast to the interior.”

The Byzantines made Homs the “centre of Christianity” and held a strong Christian population before the civil war. It also has Syria’s “largest oil refinery” and “sits at the hub of an important road and rail network that links Syria’s main towns and cities.”

The government controls Homs, but some still resist the regime. The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) bombed the city twice in late January, killing at least 24 people. The terrorist group used a car bomb at a security checkpoint, and a suicide bomber used an explosive belt to finish the job.

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