On Thursday evening, the United States hit a Syrian government airfield with 59 Tomahawk missiles in response to a Tuesday chemical weapons attack.
Brent crude futures were up 31 cents to $55.20 a barrel in late afternoon trading Friday after reaching an intraday peak of $56.08, the highest since March 7, shortly after the missile strike was announced.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were last up 54 cents to $52.24 a barrel, having reached an intraday high of $52.94.
Michael Cohen, head of energy commodities research at Barclays, believes the biggest bearish risk right now is how what's occurring in Syria impacts the upcoming OPEC meeting in May.
"One of the most important factors that led all of these countries to actually get to a deal back in November of 2016 is the involvement of Russia. If we are now looking at this possibility that there is this … wedge between some of the key players, then the likelihood of an amicable outcome on May 25 is therefore less," he said in an interview with "Power Lunch."
In November, OPEC agreed to cut oil production in an effort to prop up prices.
And while Syria isn't a big crude producer the conflict could exacerbate fault lines in the region, Cohen noted.
"That is important to take into account if you have the possibility of further conflict in a place like Iraq, in a place like Yemen and the rest of the region," he said.
— Reuters contributed to this report.
Watch: Crude gives back gains after Syria attack