President Assad pledges cooperation with probe of Lebanon assassination

Syrian President Bashar Assad pledged to cooperate fully with a U.N. inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri.

Assad denied any Syrian involvement in the killing. Hariri's assassination in a Feb. 14 bomb explosion in central Beirut triggered mass protests that brought down the pro-Syrian government two weeks later, and it increased international pressure on Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon. Syria withdrew the last of its troops in late April.

Lebanese opponents of Syria's role in Lebanon accused Syria and its allies in the Lebanese security services of involvement in the killing of Hariri, who was seen by many as a silent opponent to the pro-Syrian government. Both authorities deny any involvement.

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