Delegations from the Syrian government and the country’s opposition have begun meeting face-to-face for the first time in the presence of an international mediator in Geneva.
They are not talking to each other directly but through UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
Earlier a Syrian minister again ruled out a transitional governing body as part of a political solution.
President Assad’s position is a major concern to the opposition which wants him removed.
But with Damascus refusing to budge, it’s thought talks might focus on trying to obtain local ceasefires, the release of detainees and the opening of humanitarian corridors – especially to the embattled city of Homs.