I spent a lot of time living, working, and backpacking around the Middle East in the 1990s, when the political situation was much more stable than it is now. I especially cherish my memories of Syria, because I experienced first-hand the beauty and hospitality of a region which is now devastated by ISIS. I remember one time arriving with my Australian travel companion in a remote town in Northern Syria, not realizing there would be nowhere for us to eat or stay (as happens sometimes when you are really off the beaten path).
Concerned townspeople ushered us to the local school to meet the principal. He took us into his home for dinner, interviewed us for the local newspaper, took us for a walk to a beautiful shady tea garden, and let us sleep on mats on the floor of the school. The town really came together to look after us!