The threat of an attack by Western powers on Syria contributed to falls in European shares on Wednesday with travel stocks bearing the brunt of investor concerns.
The prospect of a US-led attack on Syria, possibly within days, has raised concerns about the impact on the broader region.
Kevin Gardiner, head of investment strategy in Europe at Barclays Wealth, said longer-term the impact on market from the crisis in Syria should soften, but in the short-term the geopolitical backdrop would be difficult to trade as there are too many unknowns.
"Short-term volatility would be the best way to play it," he said.
The conflict in Syria has contributed to investors cashing in an 8 percent rally in European stocks since late June and purchasing safe-haven assets such as government bonds and gold, while the oil price has spiked on supply concerns.
Societe Generale said the North Sea crude oil benchmark could surge to USD$150 per barrel if the war affects key oil producers such as Iraq.
Travel and leisure stocks fell 1.6 percent, led by airlines such as Lufthansa. On Tuesday, Investec said in a note that prices above USD$100 a barrel were a severe headwind to airlines' profitability.
The threat of the conflict spreading throughout the Middle East also hit tour operators which sell holidays in the region with TUI down 1.4 percent.
Cautious guidance from Europe's largest hotel operator, Accor, which fell 4.2 percent, also weighed on the sector.