Young women travelling to Syria to join Islamic State often end up “domestically isolated in severe conditions”, new research claims. UK-led research suggests that the women do not join with the intention of becoming “jihadi brides”, but often end up facing “harsh realities”.

The report also says the recruits are increasingly younger and come from comfortable and educated backgrounds. An estimated 4,000 Westerners have joined IS, including some 550 women.

The joint report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London says women are far from passive agents, with some involved in aspects of IS life including propaganda and recruitment.