Fawaz had crossed the river earlier in the day to buy supplies and check in with his old workplace but was returning before nightfall to his neighbourhood
The rubble of a bridge blown up by Isis in Mosul to block advancing Iraqi forces has become a lifeline for civilians as more and more of the northern city breaks loose from the grip of the ultra-hardline militants.
Men and women, children and the elderly scramble down the banks of the Khosr River, a tributary of the Tigris some 30 metres wide and a metre deep which counter-terrorism forces crossed last week in a night-time raid.
Lumbering over ladders and pipes, civilians crawl onto the span of the bridge, which has collapsed into the murky water, and shimmy up the opposite bank along a dirt path.
Those escaping east to Zuhur district drag suitcases along with strollers and wheelchairs. Those returning west to Muthanna carry sacks of rice, potatoes and onions, cartons of eggs and packs of baby diapers. The journey in either direction is usually several kilometres.
“Now there are people entering and people leaving,” Major General Sami al-Aridi said this week after touring both sides of the river on foot.
“The ones who left are returning, and those who are leaving now are coming from … neighbourhoods where there are currently clashes.”
He said he expected the latest evacuees to return in a day or two as Iraqi forces pushed further west.
The United Nations had warned that the US-backed campaign to kick Isis out of Mosul, their largest urban stronghold in Iraq or Syria, could displace up to 1.5 million people.