As international leaders took their places inside the gilded halls of the Montreux hotel where the Geneva talks are being held, a few ordinary Syrians clamoured to make themselves heard.
Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad turned out to vent their frustration at influence from beyond their country’s borders.
One of them told euronews: “We want peace, we want our people to choose our own president without any external pressure and we don’t want any more terrorism or foreign financial support for such groups.”
Two anti-Assad protesters also showed up, equally determined despite their numbers. This, they said, reflected the despair of the Syrian people.
The first of them said: “We wanted to express our feelings about the massacre of children. We are crying out so that the people inside the hotel will hear us and the regime will feel shame over their actions and leave.”
His colleague told euronews: “In truth, Syrians have lost all hope in these international conferences because they have been dying for three years and they’ve been slaughtered and the community has just stood idly by.”
For many Syrians, there is a sense the talks will deliver little in real terms. Yet the world is watching and waiting for a miracle that will somehow remove the political roadblocks and bring peace again to Syria.