French soldiers (file)
French soldiers (file) Reuters

Six French citizens have had their passports confiscated after allegedly planning to travel to wage jihad in Syria, a security source said on Monday - the first time the measure has been used.

The right to remove passports was introduced as part of a raft of new counter-terrorism laws in November aimed at curbing the number of French citizens leaving to join jihadist groups in the Middle East, reports AFP.

The source said the six French were "imminently" about to travel to Syria.

Their passports and identity cards have been confiscated for six months, after which the order can be renewed.

"There will be more," said French Prime Minister Manuel Valls when asked about the case on Monday.

Some 1,400 people living in France have either joined the jihadist cause in Syria and Iraq or are planning to do so, Valls said last month.

France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday that around 40 more people would lose their right to travel outside France because they planned to join jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria.  

"If French people go commit attacks in Iraq or in Syria, on their return they will present an even greater danger of carrying out large-scale terrorist attacks on the national territory," Cazeneuve told reporters.

"There are currently six administrative bans on leaving the country that have already been signed, and around 40 that are being prepared," Cazeneuve told reporters.