Syria sees war with Israel as a real possibility, and is preparing for such an event, Syrian President Bashar Assad said Wednesday to Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar. Nevertheless, he said that the likelihood of war with Israel breaking out is low under the current circumstances. Speaking to a group of Arab intellectuals, the Syrian president added that whilst war was not a preferable option, "if Israel declares war on Lebanon and Syria or if America declares war on Iran," Damascus will be prepared. "We must keep American interest in mind," continued Assad. "In the last Lebanon war it was evident that Israel wanted to pull out at a specific time, however the American government forced them to continue." He added that "we know there is someone in the American government who is interested in this war, and we are preparing for it." In contrast, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday that Israel and Syria have been exchanging messages to clarify expectations of any future peace treaty. "They know what we want from them, and I know full well what they want from us," he told Ma'ariv. Olmert did not disclose the content of the messages or provide other details about the contacts.