President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have reiterated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must step down amid the spiralling crisis in the region.

The two leaders, who met at the White House to discuss the on-going Syrian civil war, emphasised that Assad's departure is the only solution to the conflict.

"We would have preferred Assad go two years ago, last year, six months ago, two months ago. And there has been consistency on the part of my administration that Assad lost legitimacy when he started firing on his own people and killing his own people who, initially, were protesting peacefully for a greater voice in their country's affairs."

Tensions remain high between Turkey and Syria after a recent attack on the Turkish-Syrian border which killed dozens of people. Amid reports that chemical weapons have been used by Assad's regime, illegal under international law, Obama said a wide variety of options were available for responding to such warfare.

"Now, there are a while range of options that the United States is already engaged in, and I preserve the options of taking additional steps, both diplomatic and military, because those chemical weapons inside of Syria also threaten our security over the long-term as well as our allies and friends and neighbours."

Mr Erdogan is also meeting with other top American leaders including Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry later in the day to discuss Syria.

Written and presented by Alfred Joyner