A 25-year-old woman, Tareena Shakil, surprised her family when she left her home in Britain to join Islamic State militants in Syria.

British newspaper, The Sun reports that  the young mother took her 14-month-old son with her, causing her parents to be concerned for his welfare.

It was gathered that Shakil, from Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire, reportedly told her family she was going on holiday to Spain when in fact she travelled to Turkey and crossed over the border into Syria with her son, Zaheem.

Shakil was said to have contacted her family, telling them she is now in Raqqa, the Islamic state headquarters.

An image posted to Twitter this week by user @ArmedResearch showed three Syrian men apparently being beheaded in Raqqa after being charged with "cursing the Lord in markets, streets and homes", El Gulf Daily reports.

According to The Sun, Shakil's father, Mohammed, said he was shocked by her actions, telling the newspaper his daughter was a fan of the British reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex (Towie) and 90s pop group the Spice Girls.

"There was no reason to suspect," he told The Sun.  "Tareena did drama and was in The Guides.  She loved the Spice Girls and Towie."

There have been reports of dozens of British women joining an all-women unit called the al-Khansaa brigade tasked with imposing the Islamic State's strict sharia laws.

Another all female unit to have emerged is a group calling itself Al Zawraa, which has the aim of preparing women for jihad by teaching them how to use weapons and social media, sew, do first aid, cook for male fighters and understand sharia.

Despite the Islamic State's gruesome barbarity, a report in The New York Times last week that it is finding women eager to join their ranks, although the precise number is unclear.

King's College lecturer in defence studies Katherine E Brown told the newspaper it was likely that some women are attracted to the idea of marrying a fighter, while for others the appeal is a "new utopian politics, participating in jihad and being part of the creation of a new Islamic state".