msnbc.com
updated 10/21/2010 6:04:43 AM ET 2010-10-21T10:04:43

A three-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy in Syria have become engaged, according to local reports Thursday.

The United Arab Emirates-based Gulf News quoted the boy's father as saying that he had purchased the young couple rings.

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The boy, who was identified only as Khalid, "fell in love" with Hala during a family trip to a seaside town, his father said.

"My wife and I got Khalid after 20 years of marriage, in a complicated pregnancy," the boy's dad Juma told the newspaper. "I vowed to have my child engaged at the age of five if he was a boy and to marry him to a woman of his choice at the age of 15."

'The bride seems very genuine'
Juma, whose surname was not published, said that his son had refused to return to his nursery if Hala didn't attend as well.

"Khalid told me and his mother that he would like to have stayed with Hala or bring her home to Homs. The young bride seems very genuine," Juma said.  "We did not know what to do until my wife called Hala's mother and asked her opinion about the case.

"She said her daughter had developed similar symptoms of loneliness and the family would be happy to see them engaged."

Juma told the Gulf News that the children had exchanged rings.

"We know that Khalid or Hala might change their mind in the future, but what we do know at this stage is that they are very happy and talk to each other everyday," he added. "Khalid is waiting until he is 15 to marry Hala."

The story was first reported by Syrian website Aks Alser.

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