Dubai: The UAE pledged $300 million in aid to Syrians, state news agency WAM announced, following a similar amount donated by Kuwait, which is hosting on Wednesday a UN-sponsored donors conference.

WAM said the announcement was made by General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, during the conference, which aims to raise $1.5 billion for around five million Syrians facing hardships from their country's 22-month conflict. Kuwait  also made a pledge of $300 million as UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned of a "catastrophic" situation.

"Due to the great sufferings of the Syrian people and to help ensure the success of the conference, I announce the Kuwaiti donation of $300 million for the Syrian people," Kuwait Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah said as he opened the one-day conference in Kuwait City.

Also addressing the International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, Ban called for urgent financial aid, warning that if funds were not forthcoming "more Syrians will die."
"The situation in Syria is catastrophic," the UN chief said as he urged all parties to the conflict to "stop the killings".

The United Nations says that more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria's 22-month conflict, which erupted in March 2011 with peaceful protests but morphed into an armed insurgency after a harsh regime crackdown.