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The Love Issue

After Years In Hiding, These Married Soldiers are Sharing Their Story with the World

Love Is a Battlefield
Courtesy of Nayyef Hrebid

Love is a Battlefield. 

Above: Nayyef Hrebid (left) with his husband, Betu Allami

Nearly 13 years ago, Betu Allami and Nayyef Hrebid fell in love in Ramadi at the height of the Iraq War. Hrebid, an interpreter for the U.S. Marines, and Allami, a soldier for the Iraqi Army, kept their affair hidden for five years, as same-sex relations in the military -- and in the Middle East -- were not socially sanctioned. Fast-forward to 2014, and the couple's situation became vastly different. The dangers of combat far behind them across the Atlantic, they were married in Canada. They now reside in Seattle, their life together a complete 180 from when they first met. "I always tell him, 'You're the air I breathe,' " says Hrebid. "I can't live my life without him."

Related | Gay Iraqi Soldiers That Fled the Middle East Get a Surprise from Ellen

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