Gulf regional power Saudi Arabia pledged Saturday to support the successor of Syrian President Hafez Assad and voiced "great sadness" at his death.
"Saudi Arabia which shares the deep sadness of the Syrian people and government pledges to stand alongside the Syrian people and the person it chooses to succeed the late president," the royal palace said in a communiqué read on state television.
Assad's son Bashar is expected to take over from his father.
"The kingdom met with great sadness the news of the death and disappearance from the Arab nation of Hafez al-Assad who worked throughout his whole life to serve the interests of the Arab and Islamic nations," the palace said.
The television interrupted its broadcasts to announce the news, but Saudi Arabia did not declare a period of mourning -- RIYADH (AFP)
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