UPDATE 6-Oil rises on Syria tension
* U.S. crude oil futures hit nine-month high
* Middle East supply risks as Syrian confrontation escalates
* Election of moderate Iran president seen as neutral/bearish
* Investors eye June 18-19 Fed meeting, seek clarity on stimulus
(Updates prices, changes byline, dateline (previous LONDON)
NEW YORK, June 17 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil rose in choppy trading on Monday, at one point reaching its highest level since early April, as a superpower standoff over the Syrian civil war intensified and raised the risk of conflict spilling into the Middle East oil region.
Ongoing worries over bulging inventories and soft global demand forecasts offset supply concerns and limited the upside swing.
The election on Friday of a moderate as Iranian president also tempered market worries.
Investors waited to see if Iran's Hassan Rohani, who defeated hard-line rivals in Iran's presidential election, would help resolve a dispute with the United States over Tehran's nuclear ambitions that has led to Western sanctions squeezing its oil exports.
Brent crude oil futures for August rose 10 cents to $106.03 per barrel by 11:22 a.m. EDT (1522 GMT).
U.S. light crude oil futures gained 18 cents to $98.03 after hitting $98.74, their highest since September.
Analysts said the run-up on geopolitical risk would need significant follow-through to last.
"Getting up to this year's high point has probably introduced some selling and profit-taking in the market," said Stephen Schork, editor of The Schork Report in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
"We got up there on follow-through momentum from the strong close last week, ostensibly on Syria, but I think that's kind of a tenuous excuse," he said, noting that the market has several times approached $98 this year, only to retreat.
Investors were cautious ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy committee meeting starting on Tuesday. Chairman Ben Bernanke may provide more clarity on how and when the central bank will scale down its stimulus program.
U.S. stocks rose 1 percent early on Monday, with traders focused on expectations the Federal Reserve will reinforce its commitment to supporting the economic recovery.
Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch Associates in Galena, Illinois, wrote in a research note that while tensions in Syria were providing a short-term bounce, the Federal Reserve meeting was still "the week's main event in driving oil price."
"The possibility that the stock market and industrial commodities such as oil may be becoming excessively priced could enter into" a decision to tighten monetary policy sooner rather than later, he wrote.
Reuters market analyst Wang Tao said U.S oil is slated to retreat to $97.04 a barrel, while Brent is to remain in a neutral range of $105.34-$106.68 a barrel.
Syria will be a key talking point between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russia's Vladimir Putin on Monday, as both seek to find common ground in bringing Bashar al-Assad to the negotiating table to end a two-year civil war.
Late last week, Washington angered the Kremlin by authorising U.S. military support for the Syrian rebels opposed to Assad. Putin called Assad's foes flesh-eating cannibals.
Syria is not key to global oil supply, but investors are worried the civil war there could drag into other countries and plunge the whole region into conflict.
(Additional reporting by Luke Pachymuthu in Singapore, Christopher Johnson in London; editing by Jim Marshall)