Report: Assad Says Syria Preparing for Possible War With Israel

Syrian President notes that conflict unlikely under present circumstances, according to Al-Manar TV.

Hezbollah's TV station Al-Manar reported on Thursday that Syrian President Bashar Assad has said that Syria is preparing for war with Israel as a real possibility.

Assad noted, speaking at a conference in Damascus, however, that he did not expect a conflict between the two states to break out under the current circumstances.

The Syria president also denounced Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's speech in Qatar on Monday, where she stated that a struggle is being fought between moderates and extremists, with the latter attempting to prevent an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal from being reached.

According to Assad, the United States and Israel wish to turn Iran into the enemy of the Arab states. He emphasized that while mistakes may have been made over the supervision of Iranian policies and interests, this cannot be interpreted as meaning Iran is an enemy of the Arab world.

Assad's comments came after recent heightened tensions with Syria, sparked by media reports of Syria having mobilized its reserve forces.

Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence officials subsequently rejected the reports, but did state that there were signs of "nervousness" and alertness on the Syrian Golan Heights - signs that also appeared last spring and continued into the summer.