On Sunday, French President Francois Hollande said that six of his country’s jet fighters had targeted and destroyed an Islamic State training camp in eastern Syria, the Associated Press reports. The airstrikes were France’s first in Syria.

“The camp was totally destroyed,” Hollande said, speaking to reporters at the United Nations. “We’re sure there were no [civilian] casualties.”

The targets were identified in earlier reconnaissance flights carried out by France and with information provided by the United States-led coalition, the AP reports. Hollande told reporters the strikes the intent of the strikes was “protecting our territory, cutting short terrorist actions, acting in legitimate defense.”

Prime Minister Manuel Valls, speaking to reporters in southeastern France, cited the U.N. charter in support of the strikes. “We are striking Daesh in Syria because this terrorist organization prepares and organizes attacks in France from Syria, from these sanctuaries,” Valls said. “We are therefore acting in self-defense, which Article 51 of the United Nations Charter permits us to do.”

According to the New York Times, the shift in strategy—France was already involved in air strikes against ISIS in Iraq, but had heretofore been reluctant to move into Syria over concerns of inadvertently assisting the Bashar al-Assad regime—comes amid rising anxiety about the Islamic State recruiting disaffected youths in France.

Earlier this week, a splinter group in Algeria associated with the Islamic State, the Caliphate Soldiers, released a video of the beheading of kidnapped French tourist Herve Gourdel. In the video, they announced the killing was retaliation for France’s airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq.

“Our compatriot has been killed cruelly and in a cowardly way by a terrorist group. Herve Gourdel was assassinated because he was French,” Hollande said on Wednesday. “My determination is total, and this aggression only strengthens it. France will continue to fight terrorists everywhere. The operations against Islamic State will continue.”

Since 2011, nearly 30,000 foreign recruits from more than 100 countries have travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State, the Times reports. In the past year, the number of volunteers has doubled.

Photo credit: AP Images. Contact the author of this post: brendan.oconnor@gawker.com.