The Syrian peace talks are finally getting under way. After almost three years of brutal fighting, two Syrian delegations - one from the government and one from the opposition have met face to face at the UN's European headquarters in Geneva.

From an opposition perspective we've already seen some success, today we told the dictator the perspective of the Syrian people and that was an opportunity.

Rafif Joejati, Syrian National Coalition spokesperson

However, neither Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Muallem, the head of the regime delegation, and Ahmed al-Jarba, president and the head of the Syrian National Coalition delegation, were at the session.

But they have not spoken directly to each other - and have not yet agreed on a single point.

Nor did those in the same room talk to each other directly. Instead, the meeting was mediated by the UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, who passed messages between the two groups.

During the meeting, which lasted less than an hour, Brahimi said he was trying to find a common ground between the two sides.

He made clear to both sides that the negotiations were about implementing the terms of the Geneva communique - such as the establishment of a transitional government.

In this special edition of Inside Syria from the UN's European headquarters in Geneva, James Bays examines the vast gap between the two sides and the prospects of peace, with guests: Ian Black, the Middle East editor of The Guardian; Yazan Abdallah, a Syrian academic; and Rafif Joejati, a spokesperson of the Syrian National Coalition.

"... today there is a chance for success, although it's incremental - it's a small step forward, the level of representation is lower than what was expected, however, this is a positive step forward for a people to sit in the same room and have the first chat together - although it was only for half an hour - this is a really positive remark ... 

Yazan Abdallah, a Syrian academic

Source: Al Jazeera