North Syria August 20, 2015http://syriadirect.org/news/syria-direct-news-update-8-20-15/The Syrian Press Center held a free online training course for civilian journalists in regime-blockaded areas inside Syria to help young media activists better communicate local events to the outside world by gathering news at a “more efficient, professional level.” The training, reportedly the first of its kind in Syria since the beginning of the war, drew 30 media activists, surpassing the expectations of its organizers, Ahmad al-Ahmad, journalism professor and director of the SPC said in a statement Wednesday. The SPC is an independently funded pro-opposition journalism organization with branches in north and central Syria. Many Syrians out of school and without work have become civilian media activists, untrained journalists who are now some of the best and most important sources for information about breaking developments on the ground in Syria. However, the same proximity to ongoing events that makes civilian activist-journalists key sources of timely information also makes it difficult for them to access training. “I received an invitation from the Syrian Media Organization to attend a press training” Abu Muhammad al-Bardawi, a media activist in Wadi Barada, near Zabadani city told Syria Direct on Thursday. “I was not able to attend since the training was outside Syria because of the siege imposed on us here and the difficulty of moving from one country to another,” said al-Bardawi of the war photography and newswriting training offered by the SMO, the official media outlet of the Southern Front rebel coalition.