The death toll of the blast which went off earlier on Sunday near an elementary school in Syria's central province of Homs rose to 20, state media said. The blast was carried out by a suicide bomber that detonated his explosive-laden truck at a compound that groups a number of schools in Um al-Amed area in the eastern countryside of Homs, the official SANA news agency quoted a military source as saying. It said most of the killed were students and teachers, adding the blast also left a big crater and destroyed many houses in its surrounding. The east of Homs has re-emerged as a hotspot with renewed clashes between government troops and jihadist-linked groups. Several schools in Syria have been attacked by mortars and bombs and many students lost their lives as a result of the violence. The last incident took place in November when five schoolchildren were killed by a mortar shell that struck their mini bus in the capital Damascus. Many Syrians have stopped sending their kids to schools out of fears of similar attacks, especially those in areas suffering daily mortar shelling by the rebels from hotspots near Damascus.