UPDATE 10-Brent sets 6-month high as West weighs strike on Syria
* West readying attack on Syria -sources
* Libya's oil production down by nearly 60 percent
* Weak U.S. data tempers view on Fed tapering
* Coming up: U.S. API weekly oil data at 4:30 p.m. EDT, 2030 GMT
(Updates prices, White House reaction)
NEW YORK, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Brent crude jumped to a six-month high, rising more than $3 to top $114 a barrel, on Tuesday as Western powers considered a military strike against Syria following last week's suspected chemical weapons attack.
U.S. crude also gained nearly $3 a barrel as fears mounted that Western intervention could further destabilize the Middle East, which pumps a third of the world's oil.
Western officials told the Syrian opposition to expect a strike against President Bashar al-Assad's forces within days, according to sources who attended a meeting between envoys and the Syrian National Coalition in Istanbul.
"As the rhetoric ratchets up around Syria the geopolitical risk premium in the price of oil is once again widening," Dominick Chirichella of Energy Management Institute said.
Brent crude rose $3.29 to $114.02 a barrel by 2:00 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). During the session it hit a six-month high of $114.35, and was on track for its biggest daily percentage gain since early May.
U.S. crude rose rose $3.09 to $109.00 a barrel, after earlier hitting $109.32, matching its high for the year so far. On Monday, it fell 0.5 percent when data showed U.S. durable goods orders had dropped the most in nearly a year.
While the White House on Tuesday ruled out any military effort to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, oil market watchers pointed to signs that Washington and its allies are edging toward a limited use of force against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's loyalists.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Obama had not made a decision on how the United States will respond to what it believes was an attack on civilians by the Syrian government.
On Monday, the United States put Assad on notice that it believes he was responsible for using chemical weapons against civilians last week in what Secretary of State John Kerry called a "moral obscenity."
"There's a lot of air in this market, and it's now hungry for the next headline," said Stephen Schork, the editor of The Schork Report in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
"So if we see more belligerent rhetoric, like Kerry's 'moral obscenity,' we're due for another leg up and you can't really sell."
President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday that France stood "ready to punish" the perpetrators of a chemical attack in Damascus last week and would increase its military support to the Syrian opposition.
Declining Libyan production also supported prices. Libya's largest western oilfields closed when an armed group shut down the pipeline linking them to ports, its deputy oil minister said on Tuesday, reducing its oil output to a trickle.
It is off nearly 60 percent to 665,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to a month-long disruption by armed security guards, who shut down main export terminals, its oil minister said.
In the United States, weak data on home sales and durable goods orders tempered views that the Federal Reserve could start paring its economic stimulus program as soon as September.
The American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to release its weekly oil stocks data on Tuesday afternoon.
A preliminary Reuters poll showed that U.S. commercial crude stockpiles were expected to have fallen last week as refinery utilization rates were at high levels, and gasoline inventories likely dipped primarily due to seasonal factors.
(Additional reporting by David Sheppard in New York, Peg Mackey in London, Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by David Gregorio, Andrew Hay and Bob Burgdorfer)