Fadwa Suleiman or Fadwa Soliman (b. May 17, 1970, Aleppo, Syria – d. August 17, 2017, Paris, France) was a Syrian actress of an Alawite descent who led a Sunni-majority protest against Bashar al-Assad's government in Homs. She became one of the most recognized faces of the Syrian Civil War.
Born in Aleppo, Suleiman moved to the capital Damascus to pursue an acting career where she performed in numerous plays, Maria's Voice and Media, and in at least a dozen TV shows, including in The Diary of Abou Antar and Little Ladies. She also played an art teacher at an orphanage in Small Hearts, a television series that helped raise awareness about human organ trafficking and was broadcast by several Arab channels. She also acted in an Arabic adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Qabbani theater in Damascus.
At the beginning of the Syrian uprising in 2011, Suleiman was one of the few outspoken actresses against Assad's government. Knowing her fate would be death or prison, Suleiman wanted to participate in the demonstration to dispel what she said was public perception that all in the Alawite community, which comprised around 10 per cent of the Syrian population, supported Assad's government. She also wanted to dismiss the government's narrative that those who participate in protests were either Islamists or armed terrorists. She appeared at rallies demanding Assad's removal, sharing the podium with soccer star Abdelbasset Sarout, one of a number of Syrian celebrities who backed the revolt.
Suleiman also delivered impassioned monologues to the camera, calling for peaceful protests to continue across the country until Assad was overthrown. In one video message in 2011, Suleiman said security forces were searching Homs neighborhoods for her, and beating people to force them to reveal her hiding place. She cut her hair short like a boy, and moved from house to house to evade capture. In 2012, she fled with her husband via Lebanon and moved to France, where they resided in Paris.
On August 17, 2017, Suleiman died of cancer while in exile in Paris, aged 47.