With its latest deadline days away, Syria is close to eliminating its stockpile of chemical weapons, monitors said Tuesday, an improbable accomplishment in the midst of civil war that is likely to diminish further the possibility of international intervention.

After a slow start that prompted U.S. accusations of stalling, the government of President Bashar Assad has shipped almost 90 percent of its chemical weapons materials out of the country, raising hopes that it can finish the job by Sunday.

A United Nations plan that averted punitive U.S. airstrikes last year sets June 30 as the deadline for all of Syria‚Äôs chemical weapons materials to be destroyed. But the first and hardest task has been shipping it out of the country through the Mediterranean port of Latakia. […]