UPDATE 3-Brent falls but underpinned by Syria, U.S. data
* Tensions rise over suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria
* U.S. home data temper expectations of Fed tapering
* Coming up: U.S. durable goods data at 1230 GMT
(Changes dateline to LONDON, adds quotes, context)
LONDON, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Brent crude eased towards $110.50 a barrel on Monday but was underpinned near a five-month high as rising tensions over a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria added to concerns that increased unrest in the Middle East could disrupt supply.
Oil prices had gained alongside equities after a steep drop in new U.S. home sales tempered expectations the Federal Reserve will soon reduce stimulus.
"Bets are hedged for a new conflict in Syria," Thorbjoern Bak Jensen, analyst at Global Risk Management said, "If something happened, it could spread to other countries and disrupt oil supplies."
Brent crude for October fell 50 cents to $110.54 a barrel at 1204 GMT, after touching $111.68 in early trade, the highest since April 2.
U.S. crude for October delivery fell 29 cents to $106.13 a barrel.
Large speculators raised their net long positions in Brent futures and options to a new record high in the week to Aug. 20.
U.N. inspectors left central Damascus on Monday to investigate sites of an alleged chemical weapons strike on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, a Reuters witness said, after calls from Western powers for military action to punish what may be the world's worst chemical attack in 25 years.
"The oil market is heading to an upside due to geopolitical risks in the Middle East and positive equity markets," said Tetsu Emori, a commodities fund manager at Astmax Investment in Tokyo.
Tighter supply due to disrupted output from the North Sea to Libya has pushed Brent higher over the past two weeks, while positive economic data from the euro zone and China last week improved the outlook for fuel demand.
(Additional reporting by Florence Tan in Singapore, Editing by William Hardy)