The Latest: Arab League rejects Syrian Kurds' federal region

The Latest on the conflict in Syria and the peace talks underway in Geneva (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

The Arab League has rejected last week's declaration by Syrian Kurds of a de-facto federal region in northern Syria.

The league's deputy chief, Ahmed bin Helli, said on Monday that calls for federalization could impact Syria's unity.

Last Thursday, a meeting of some 200 Kurdish officials declared they were establishing a federal region. The officials insisted they are not seeking secession — but rather making sure the country remains one nation.

In Syria's civil war, Kurdish fighters have emerged as the most effective fighting force against the Islamic State group and are backed militarily by the United States.

The Kurds, a longtime oppressed minority, have taken advantage of the chaos of the civil war to advance their goals of autonomy. After government troops withdrew from Kurdish areas to focus elsewhere in Syria, they declared their own civil administration in 2013.


2:20 p.m.

The European Union's foreign policy chief has expressed optimism about Syria's peace process, urging international and regional actors to build on current, favorable conditions.

Federica Mogherini says the recent developments have shown "positive" steps unseen in the previous five years of conflict in Syria. She was speaking about a truce that has been relatively holding across Syria since Feb. 27 and the flow of hundreds of trucks carrying aid to besieged areas.

Mogherini spoke during a visit to Lebanon, where she met with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil. She says they also spoke about Syrian refugees and attacks that have hit Lebanon and Europe.

Syria's second round of U.N.-sponsored talks between the government and opposition, which resumed in Geneva last week, are to continue on Monday.